DJI challenges BBC on drones in scathing open letter


DJI has written an open letter to the BBC to express its ‘deep disappointment’ at what it describes as the broadcaster’s negative portrayal of drone tech.

The international firm said it feels it is part of its duty to do so after what it feels seems like a pattern of reporting by the BBC on drones, citing Panorama’s “The Gatwick Drone Attack” that aired April 15, 2019, and more recently during Horizon’s “Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones,” aired July 1, 2019.

As part of the release DJI states: “The BBC is a public service broadcaster whose remit is to ‘inform, educate, and entertain.’ We strongly believe that both these programs fall very short of informing and educating viewers in an impartial and accurate manner.

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“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 analyze the actual risk or threat to aviation. In relation to “Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones,” only about one minute of an hour-long program was given to the multitude of benefits that drone technology has to offer society.”

It goes on to confirm that “DJI was approached by both the Panorama and Horizon production teams and provided plenty of input including an interview and in-depth background information. However, almost none of the material was included in either program.”

Adding: “We have to assume this is because the BBC ultimately preferred to boost viewing figures by focusing on sensational, high-risk scenarios that are vanishingly rare or almost impossible, while ignoring evidence that drone technology is safe and that the drone industry itself has implemented various features to mitigate the risks described. This cannot be construed as balanced or impartial in anyone’s book.”

Read the open letter in full here.

Tags : BBCDJIIntegrationperception
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas


  1. I watched the BBC’s program ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones,’ last night and although i thought it was a great program, i realised that they only focused on one brand of drone., Namely, your own. I myself am not a drone owner, but I have recently been following ‘Captain Drone’s’ youtube channel, and it looks like something I would love to get into. That being said, I not not the type of person that would totally ignore the laws of the land and anyone that used a drone in the situations that were depicted in the program asks for everything they get. Just wish i could afford one right now. My partners family live in France and where they live would be great for some fantastic video footage from a drone

  2. I totally understand what dji are saying. They are the world leaders in drone tech. I would also love to own one. I have recently bought a small entry lvl drone which has a range of 150m approx however I have watch a lot of utube reviews and think drone definitely have a great place in society. When technology advances and becomes cheaper drones could be amazingly useful. For example policing instead of a helicopter you could have 100 drones or search and rescue you could cover a whole mountain in minutes. Amazon I believe are trailing postal delivery services to remote locations huge drop in carbon foot print. The list of benefits goes on.

    1. I agree with you 1 hundred percent. Drones already have saved peoples lives and people have found things that we never knew where their. Drones have never killed one person and have saved lives so they just make up lies for ratings.

  3. I have always said “when news sources have the scent of a story the more dreadful, the more threatening, the more confusing, the better”! The reality is there are many “potential threats” out there most are human! ..But it’s easier to pick one that may find it difficult to fight back! Getting on the threat “bandwagon” is what todays journalist do ad nauseam. This issue is a prime example “Panic Mongering” of the first order. And the punch line is it takes the publics eye off serious major government cock ups, dithering and blatant inability to govern!

    1. I’ve been building and flying drones before you could buy them off the shelf.
      The BBC and other media outlets and here in Australia only provide entertainment now… not facts.
      And most Joe Blows out there believe their straight out lies. There are commecial air space interests at play. Wake up world!

  4. I saw the program ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones,’ , and I thought it was mostly crap. Reminded me of the UFO programs. Very biased and telling the story in a tone to scare.

    1. I have not seen this show but one thing I can tell you is that drones have been flying over 10 years now and not one person has been killed by a drone and a drone has never caused an air plain to crash. Drones are the safest things in the air so don’t believe these lies

  5. BBC have a duty to get as much funds from the public as possible in order to pay excessive wages to poor performers. They do not, without bias, look objectively at issues unless they provide controversity and therefore viewers (probable on the fringe) that would justify their position.
    They claim to be unbiased and objective however watch the 9 am news and see for yourself this “unbiased objective” reporting. Appalling, unfair amd unjustified.

  6. For some reason every time I see BBC I think it stands for something else. I cant take them seriously

  7. What I find farical is that when we talk about drones we are essentially discussing model aircrafts as a whole. You could do significantly more damage with a model RC helicopter or model airplane especially given the rage and the amount of material. There is nothing stopping those who wish to reak havoc plying a model jet plane into a major airport and causing much greater deviation. The BBC is portraying drones as a weapon and a nuisance. However any thing can be weaponised. Where is the documentary depicting how dangerous vans are given they were used to murder innocent people in London a couple of years ago.

    Dji incorporates a multitude of technologies to help law abiding citizens safe and allow them to maximise their enjoyment in a safe manner. BBC utilise drones for filming.

    Poor show really.

  8. I watch the documentary, horizons Britain’s next air disaster drones?.
    What a load of scaremongering and manipulative claptrap.
    I really fly in light aircrafts regularly, I’ll point out that their test firing of the drone into that light aircraft tailplane was a long way from scientific. Firing it over 3 times greater speed then an light aircraft flying speed on takeoff and landing, turning the drone into a slug by breaking it up bonding it with adhesive, adding some suspicious black rods and what look like a block of steel then firing it at the aircraft wing.
    I know it makes good TV, I’m almost surprised they didn’t add some pyrotechnics. To get an impressive fireball.
    Not to mention that’s that isn’t it any proof that there was any drones involved at Gatwick which were police operated.
    The language, editing, and even using an ex soldier to host the so-called documentary was extremely biased against drones. There was a total absence of balance or factual reporting involved.

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