Did the BBC Photoshop an image of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to make him look Russian?
The BBC says no. Nonetheless, 48 people filed complaints with the network over the image, which put Corbyn in front of a Moscow background. Corbyn’s hat appeared to be a “Lenin-style” hat as well. The BBC rejected the complaints and pointed iMediaEthics to its ruling, noting complainants can appeal the ruling with UK broadcast regulator OfCom and pointing to the BBC’s complaints process.
“48 people complained to the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) that the backdrop had been deliberately contrived to convey an impression of pro-Russian sympathy on Mr Corbyn’s part,” the BBC complaints department reported on its website.
The image was used in a March 15 Newsnight episode about Corbyn’s response to Russians being poisoned in the UK.
The BBC responded to the complaints by claiming that the picture was not Photoshopped while also admitting some technical changes were made to the image and the obvious backdrop was added.
“In fact, the graphics team had increased the contrast to ensure enough definition on screen, and given the whole backdrop a colour wash for a stylised effect,” the BBC said.
Concerning the hat, the BBC said, “As a result of this treatment, much of the detail of Mr Corbyn’s hat visible in the original photograph was lost, and the hat appeared in silhouette. This was the effect which suggested to some complainants a likeness to a Russian-style fur hat.”
The BBC defended the use of the Russian backdrop as “entirely apt” given the program “focused on the current state of relations between Britain and Russia.”
Hat Tip: The Guardian