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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

image for BBC Issue a list of locations to avoid in news reports
Journalists reporting from the Danish town Middlefart, but referring to it as being on the island of Funen

The BBC have issued guidelines of place names to avoid in news reports due to an increasingly sensitive viewing public.

"A few years ago," said Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, "We could say what we liked on the news, and nobody dared complain. News journalists were gods."

According to Thompson, recent revelations on the underhand dirty tactics of a small minority of journalists has left the public reassessing their opinion of journalists in general, and much more quick to complain to OfCom.

"Journalists have been classified into the same category as estate agents, lawyers, bankers and high street electronics store staff," said Thompson. "This means we now have to be more careful."

Among the locations that journalists have to be careful with are Norfolk and Penistone in Derbyshire.

"When speaking with BBC English," said Thompson, "Norfolk sounds like 'No Fuck'. We had a lot of complaints about this. Instead, the guidelines that have been issued are asking the journalists to refer to the actual town itself instead of Nofuck."

Penistone was in the news recently following hikers getting trapped in a landslip, and there were a number of tongue slips among the journalists that caused hilarity on TV Burp but complaints on the news itself.

"Obviously news readers cannot be expected to learn all of the place names that could cause complaints," said Thompson. "This is why the guidelines aren't a list. Instead it is at the journalist's discretion. For example, if they are broadcasting from Twatt in Orkney, they should refer to the island. This isn't specifically mentioned in the guidelines, but it makes sense."

Trevor McDonald, a veteran newsreader, believes that the public are being oversensitive.

"The world is full of obscene names," said McDonald. "The childish minded public should just grow up and stop taking offence at every little thing. Morons."

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