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Kate Middleton: BBC Rejects Complaints Its Photo Edit Coverage Was “Excessive & Sensationalist”

The BBC has rejected complaints from UK viewers who said its coverage of the edited Kate Middleton Mother’s Day photo was over the top.

In a statement drawn up before the Princess of Wales announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer, the BBC said its news coverage of the picture was commensurate with national interest.

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It followed viewers contacting the corporation to complain that its output was “excessive” in volume and “sensationalist” in tone.

“We always give careful consideration to the editorial decisions we make,” the BBC said. “We have a responsibility to report on stories that are of interest to our audience, and know from our viewing figures that this was the story of most interest on that day. However, we appreciate this doesn’t mean that everyone would have agreed with the approach we took.”

The day after major news agencies withdrew the Kensington Palace picture, the BBC’s main bulletins dedicated eight minutes to the story, which equated to around a third of their air time.

In an interview with BBC Newswatch, James Stephenson, a news editor at BBC News, said the edited photo was by “far and away the story that people were most interested in on the day” and there was “concern” about Middleton.

The BBC added: “A significant focus of our analysis was the growing scrutiny there has been in recent years over the use of AI in manipulating photos. We looked at the wider issue of whether people can trust the images they see, and how they can tell if these have been altered.”

Middleton’s cancer diagnosis has been another major story for the British broadcaster. The BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Studios, recorded the Princess of Wales’ video statement last week and stressed that it was not edited.

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