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BBC PANORAMA ‘Fifa’s Dirty Secrets’
Panorama Is The: • Longest running current affairs show in the world. First Aired in 1953. • Flagship factual programme for the BBC occupying BBC1 Prime Time. • Historically CONTROVERSIAL. • BUT did the latest episode go TOO FAR, undermining Englands World Cup Bid… • AND misrepresent the UKs national identity?
About the Episode • Andrew Jennings uncovers evidence of long-standing, deep-rooted corruption within FIFA. • Members of the FIFA Executive Committee are shown to have taken money from IFS, the firm responsible for broadcasting rights. • Findings from a confidential document showed a total of 175 payments totalling £64m in bribes. • There were also allegations of committee members selling tickets to black-market touts in 2006.
Is Panorama to blame for England’s defeat? • OFCOM complaints focused on the CONSEQUENCES of the broadcast, NOT the CONTENT. • Panorama’s intentions were only to reveal the truth, not to jepardise England’s bid. • BUT…The Vice President of FIFA has threatened to sue the BBC. • BBC defended the show stating: “it is surely nonsense to suggest that you know a process could be flawed and you don't say anything until after it has happened." • We invented the modern game, so we should safeguard its integrity.
Panorama is intended to provoke debate amongst its core audience….Thus… • Airing pre vote meant an opportunity to influence FIFA’s decision. • BUT… FIFA remained indifferent to any charges against it and to England’s bid. • We received one vote. • BUT the show received a ratings boost of 200 000. Stunt…? • However… “in an online poll that asked whether the BBC was right to air the show, 76% said NO”
The UK’s National Identity in response to Panorama’s allegations “The media can be seen as providing us with the information which it tells us what it feels like to occupy a particular subject-position.” Woodward, 1997, pg. 14 • i.e. Panorama must give its audience content it can relate to. • Many question the episode “Fifa’s Dirty Secrets” motives and the BBCs disregard for UK national identity. • BUT… Panorama used UK identification to appeal to its consumer. • Defined by Woodward as…
“The process of identifying with others, either through lack of awareness of difference or separation, or as a result of perceived similarities” (1997:14) • i.e. The BBC perceived UK citizens would have similarly negative views towards FIFA. • Thus… broadcast a very subjective, one sided argument. • An editorial line that possibly makes it an untrustworthy source. • A view the Panorama Editor condones stating: “It has taken many weeks to ensure that the allegations we are making were properly tested and that all those named were given a fair opportunity to respond.”
Panorama gave FIFA a chance to defend themselves, so they had NO excuses for what the programme uncovered. • BUT… Woodward argues the BBC shows a lack of understanding concerning “conflicting identities that are located within the social, political and economic changes to which they contribute” (1997:18). • AND… instead caused a large split in opinion within the UK concerning the issues of the episode. • Panorama wants an “active audience”, to create debates amongst audiences and allow viewers their own interpretation of the context.
Panorama and Audience Theory • Adorno and Horkheimer’s “Media Power’ • “We are still just people consuming TV” • i.e. The BBC can choose to broadcast anything they wish and thereby impose their views on consumers. • BUT… While Panorama presents very convincing evidence, the backlash from the media and consumers shows this theory is not entirely accurate.
Fiske’s “Audience Power” • ‘a singular mass of consumers does not exist’ • There are “a range of different individuals with their own changing tastes”. • i.e. The UK audience is a wide range of identities, and the audience is not simply absorbing this information. • BUT has resisted this and many have chosen to express their own personal opinion.
Panorama may have put England’s FIFA World Cup Bid in jeopardy by broadcasting so close to the voting day. • Allowing FIFA committee members to punish Panorama’s editorial line by not voting for England. • BUT the UK should be proud as the programme may have made our national identity seem potentially honourable and courageous to others. • Though complaints, the show highlighted an issue that couldn’t and shouldn’t be ignored. • Some are calling for a new FIFA, a clean sweep. • The world is watching, as indeed is Panorama.