News 23 January 2021

The BBC respond after receiving several complaints for featuring a Black women’s hiking group on ‘Countryfile’

23 January 2021

The BBC received several complaints after airing a Countryfile feature that featured a Black women’s walking group.

In the clip in which Anita Rani spoke to Black Girls Hike founder Rhiane Fatinilkun, social closure is explored as they discuss the lack on inclusion or accessibility that black people can feel in regards to the great outdoors.

During the segment, Anita said, “There’s loads of reasons for it really.

I think it’s where we live. A lot of us tend to live in cities, for example.  None of my family does any hiking. We did do sports and we’re utilising outdoor spaces but just not the countryside.

Anita added, “I just think it’s really important for us to have that safe space where we can explore the outdoors together, but also in a group where we actually share the same experiences.”

After receiving several complaints from disgruntled viewers, the BBC responded.

In a statement, the BBC said, “The feature on the walking group was part of a programme where the overall theme was to encourage people to make more of their connection with the British countryside during the coming year, including trying to get outdoors more to exercise where possible.”

“For a variety of reasons, as the presenter explained, it has been the case that historically some groups have felt less able than others to take part in outdoor activities such as hiking or mountain walking, so any initiative which seeks to redress that balance is to be welcomed.”

They added, “‘The walking group in this programme is one such initiative and is a reminder that not only is the beauty of the British countryside there for everyone to appreciate, but that all are welcome to enjoy it and to safeguard its wildlife, landscape, and traditions for the future.”

The BBC have chosen not to reveal the exact wording of the complaints.