IBT says broadcasters failed to prepare for Arab Spring

As part of the publicity for its “Outside the box” report, the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT) has damned UK broadcasters for failing to prepare audiences for political upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East. Looking in particular at non-news programming on the principal channels, such as those of the BBC, ITV and Sky, the IBT says that, in 2010, five of the 12 countries affected were not the subject of any significant documentary coverage.

This is a bizarre accusation to make, given that much of the trouble has kicked off this year, and no-one had predicted that the Arab world would rise in revolt against its despotic and kleptocratic rulers. It is one thing to say that British television is relatively lacking when it comes to in-depth analysis of world events – which is arguably the case, when one compares with current affairs programming in other European countries – but it is quite another to denounce domestic broadcasters in this context, especially with the dubious benefit of hindsight.