More bad press comment on the anti-drone coverage this week by a program on BBC Two on Monday night called – Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones.
The program has caused a very strong reaction to the BBC on social media with many hundred complaints about the Anti-Drone treatment via the BBC website, because the program was so biased.
Dji have written an open letter to the BBC to voice their disappointment at the negative portrayal of drone technology and one-sided reporting based on hearsay.
Also ARPAS the drone trade association of which Drone Photography Services is a member, wrote a strongly worded press release denigrating the anti-drone reporting in the program.
The presenter of the Horizon program a high risk specialist and former Royal Marine Aldo Kane was on London Live two day later, with what can only be described as the biggest climb down, especially about the flawed impact test when drone parts were fired into an old aircraft wing.
On London Live Aldo also stated that there was no confirmed drone at Gatwick, going on to say what good drones do in the world today, saying how most TV programs could not be made with out them.
Why he could not have been so balanced on the Horizon documentary is probably because it was made by a production company for the BBC, who had an anti-drone agenda and Aldo Kane was working from a script.
Here is what ARPAS said in their statement:
What ARPAS Said
ARPAS members have expressed deep concern and criticism of the BBC Two documentary, ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones?’, which aired on Monday 1 July 2019 and which focussed heavily on the illegal and malevolent use of drones in UK airspace, exaggerated the risks and presented a one-sided view that has the potential to harm the livelihood of ARPAS members.
ARPAS acknowledges that mid-air collision, unauthorised flight within restricted and sensitive airspace as well as deliberate nefarious use, are the most credible causes of a serious incident involving a drone but a balanced assessment of risk is always a combination of severity and likelihood. ARPAS believes the programme overemphasised the former and neglected to realistically assess the latter.
As a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a responsibility to provide its viewers with balanced reporting which, on this occasion, we believe it failed to do. ARPAS is the UK’s trade association representing the unmanned aviation industry and we would hope that in the future, programme makers ask us to contribute in order to gain a more balanced view.
ARPAS vigorously supports the legal, safe and legitimate uses of drones and strongly believes this represents the vast majority of recreational users and all the commercial users amongst its members for whom it will continue to advocate.
DJI’s open letter
DJI’s open letter is 2,300 words; here are the first two paragraphs.
We have put the link here to read the full letter below:
As the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, we feel it is our duty on behalf of the millions of responsible drone users around the globe, to express our deep disappointment at the BBC’s negative portrayal of drone technology and one-sided reporting based on hearsay. This now seems to be an established pattern of reporting by the BBC, with such bias appearing both during Panorama’s ‘The Gatwick Drone Attack’ that aired 15thApril 2019, and more recently during Horizon’s ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones’ aired 1st July 2019.
The BBC is a public service broadcaster whose remit is to ‘inform, educate, and entertain. We strongly believe that both these programmes fall very short of informing and educating viewers in an impartial and accurate manner. It is the BBC’s duty to paint a more nuanced picture of the events at Gatwick, given that there is still no firm conclusion due to the lack of physical evidence or any photographic material to prove that a drone was even the actual cause of the disruptions, and therefore no information upon which to analyse the actual risk or threat to aviation.
In relation to ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones’, only about one minute of an hour-long programme was given to the multitude of benefits that drone technology has to offer society.
DJI provided information to the programme’s researcher, and discussed with the production direct input from DJI, but only ADS-B and geo-fencing were briefly mentioned and the latter, was outlined, in a disparaging light.