BBC One Documentary to Profile Working Conditions in Apple's Supply Chain

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BBC One later this week is airing a documentary, Apple's Broken Promises, that profiles factory conditions for overseas workers who are producing components and assembling the company's iPhone 6. Richard Bilton and his team at current affairs program Panorama went undercover to examine Chinese factory life and mining conditions in Indonesia.

apples-broken-promises-bbc-one

Apple is the most valuable brand on the planet, making products that everyone wants - but how are its workers treated when the world isn't looking? Panorama goes undercover in China to show what life is like for the workers making the iPhone 6. And it's not just the factories. Reporter Richard Bilton travels to Indonesia to find children working in some of the most dangerous mines in the world. But is the tin they dig out by hand finding its way into Apple's products?

The hour-long documentary is slated to air on BBC One at 9:00 PM UK time on December 18. It will be available online for UK viewers shortly after the documentary airs later this week, and may at some point air globally on BBC World News.

This isn't the first time Apple's supply chain factories have been profiled by a major media outlet. ABC's Nightline visited Foxconn's factories in 2012 with the permission of Apple, which provided an inside look at its iPad and iPhone production line. The report documented the long shifts and low wages paid to the workers but also pointed out that Apple was being responsive to concerns that its workers were being treated unfairly.

The Nightline profile was a response to an earlier and overwhelmingly negative report by The New York Times that uncovered the poor working conditions at Apple's Chinese supplier facilities.

Top Rated Comments

sanook997 Avatar
80 months ago
Will they compare working conditions at Apple suppliers (note the subject employees do not work for Apple) with working conditions at suppliers to other U.S. companies like GE, Ford etc....

Nope, not a chance, because if they did there would be no story.

What if Apple Suppliers treated their employees better than 90% of all other employers in China? Its very possible, even likely but you will not hear a word of it in this BBC go for the ratings grab.......gonna be BS all the way, count on it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macintologist Avatar
80 months ago
Prediction: the story will end up relying on hoax sources. Remember back in 2012 Mike Daisey's hoax anti-Apple story (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/blog/2012/03/retracting-mr-daisey-and-the-apple-factory) about Apple in China on This American Life that was retracted?

Ira Glass: I have difficult news. We've learned that Mike Daisey's story about Apple in China - which we broadcast in January - contained significant fabrications. We're retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth.

Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ryansimmons323 Avatar
80 months ago
I love the BBC and yes, there are serious issues with working conditions in China and elsewhere when it comes to the production of consumer electronics.

However, out of all the big players in tech, Apple is one of the most responsible when it comes to working conditions in manufacturing.

While other companies get away with it because Apple is taking all the flack for them, those companies do nothing to make a difference for these workers. They make no effort to move production back to the US and they do nothing to help workers.

As for the BBC, it seems that they have an ongoing desire to talk down Apple and to never highlight or celebrate their successes.

I'm reminded of an article Stephen Fry posted on January 24th for the Mac's 30th -

If Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s excellent and totally non-partisan technology reporter, is so much as seen as holding an Apple product he will get streams of trolling invective from mad Apple haters. If he holds up a Samsung and licks it, none of us give a toss. It’s all become very troubling. I notice the BBC have no article in their tech page today even mentioning the Mac’s 30th birthday. I supposed they’re just scared by those weird trolls who think that Apple has them in their pay or something equally mad. I can’t be arsed to go out there and defend Apple products, they speak and sell for themselves. If you think the world is fine enough in all other areas for there to be room for you to be all angry about Apple, then go ahead and be angry. It’s your spleen. Do what you like with it.

It's seemingly out of fear of being called out for bias, maybe because there's simply too much positive news about Apple and not enough in the way of legitimate negative stories.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lusky Avatar
80 months ago
I'm gobsmacked at the comments on here. how dare the BBC investigate Apple????? Are you all serious?
It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing Apple are the biggest and they will receive the most attention. I mean how did that argument go down with your teachers in school, i did something naughty but it's ok so does all these other people???

I pay enough money for Apple products that they shouldn't be made with cheap labour. they are making Billions a year in profit they can and should have a 100% clean supply chain. If Apple are forced to clean up better then hopefully that knocks on the rest of the chain. BBC and Panorama have a decent reputation at these things so I'm more than willing top five it a chance
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MagicBoy Avatar
80 months ago

Your 'treasured national institution' is funded via tax, tax is theft. I am coerced into paying for the BBC.

My dealings with with Apple are entirely voluntary. If I don't use their services, I don't pay for them.

HA!

I suggest you move to another country that doesn't levy taxes. Best of luck with that. :rolleyes:
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Uplift Avatar
80 months ago

I love the BBC


The BBC and the reporting it supports needs to die, it's a politically biased corp ran by the government that has turned a blind eye to pedophilia, and because i own a TV i'm legally required to support it as well.. The whole thing needs disbanding.. but this is another debate:p
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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