Drone industry weighs in on DJI’s criticism of BBC 


DJI’s criticism of the BBC in the wake of last week’s Horizons drone documentary has won support from industry onlookers who believe it was correct to air its grievances.

Since the drone maker issued a 2,300-word letter to BBC director general Tony Hall raising its concerns over the portrayal of UAV technology last week, Commercial Drone Professional has been inundated with comments and reaction from the industry.

Many appear to share DJI’s view that the documentary – titled ‘Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones – was sensationalist and ignored evidence of drone technology safety, while others feel it merely perpetuated the British public’s apparent sense of negativity towards drones.

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One reader, posting under the name ‘Nelson T’, wrote: “Fantastic that the likes of DJI have responded in this manner to the BBC. True way in which drone pilots have been portrayed especially in the UK including statements by recent politicians… They paint a picture that all drone pilots are either nefarious in nature or downright stupid or ignorant, when in the majority of cases it takes considerable time, energy and money to even embark upon getting involved.”

Another poster, Mike Long, said DJI’s letter was a “great response” to a “very one-sided” documentary.

“I have strong doubts about any drone being sighted at Gatwick, but the airport authorities went way over with their ‘precautions’ cost thousands of people the chance to be where they should have been, not an hour or so late but days, all because someone called ‘drone’ without any proof it even existing.”

In a statement issued to CDP on Friday, the BBC defended its investigation and described it as “justified, fair and impartial”, but it is clear that members of the drone industry remain unconvinced.

One commentator, Chris Taylor, wrote: “What a silly way too look at it, why not just hold your hands up for once and really take responsibility? The programme was clearly biased, inaccurate and staged in certain parts. The programme contained well over 90 percent negative light on the use of drones.”

He continued: “Not one minute was dedicated to how drones help – SAR, medical supply delivery, organ transplant delivery, assistance to the Emergency Services. The lists are endless. Although I agree a drone can pose a threat in the wrong hands, so can a pencil – we are not banning those now are we?”

Joseph Perez claimed: “Drones already have saved people’s lives and people have found things that we never knew where there. Drones have never killed a person and have saved lives so they just make up lies for ratings.”

Another reader, Michael Newton, said: “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.”

What is your opinion of the BBC’s Horizons documentary on drones? And was DJI right in its criticism of the broadcaster and its portrayal of drone technology? Email alex.douglas@itppromedia.com with your views or add your comments in the box below.

Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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