The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Well done Tim and Richard for this piece of successful activism! Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk -----Original Message----- From: Richard Pond <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 12 March 2001 00:13 Subject: Re: e-mail the beeb > >>1) Yesterday's Independent had a long piece (see below) exposing how the >>World Service was duped into broadcasting what was essentially a piece of >>RAF propaganda about the Feb. 16th bombing of Iraq. >> >>One of our members has suggested that folk e-mail the BBC's Feedback >>programme (a programme whose content is 'entirely directed by the letters, >>emails and faxes it receives from listeners') to ask for some sort of >>right-of-reply. Their e-mail is email@example.com. > >This evening (11 March 2001) BBC Feedback covered these complaints. It >quoted a chunk of Howard Leader's original FOOC report, and then quoted >criticisms from someone called Tim Buckley, and then from me. > >Afterwards, the presenter interviewed a BBC manager. > >I made a transcript of the interview: > >PRESENTER: So what are the facts? I went to Bush House to talk to the >Director of News for the English services, Bob Jobbins. I asked him first, >who IS Howard Leader? Is he a World Service correspondent? > >JOBBINS: Howard Leader is, as far as I'm aware, nobody's correspondent. He >was represented to us as someone who has worked for, and continues to work >for, some BBC programmes. And certainly at the time when this contribution >was commissioned for From Our Own Correspondent, the producer of the >programme understood that he was talking to someone who was a regular, bona >fide contributor to the BBC. > >PRESENTER: And, in terms of news and current affairs, he wasn't. > >JOBBINS: Well, with hindsight we know he wasn't at all. > >PRESENTER: So was your editor conned? > >JOBBINS: I think that, under the pressure of putting together a weekly >programme, he, having made what he thought of as being reasonable checks, I >think he, um, there was certainly a degree of misrepresentation, whether it >was deliberate or not I can't tell you, but the producer thought he was >dealing with somebody who was a journalist, and it turns out he was dealing >with somebody who was a journalist but who had connections with the RAF. > >PRESENTER: But the programme is called From Our Own Correspondent. The >public therefore assumes that the people on that programme are your >correspondents, and in this case, they were misled. > >JOBBINS: Yes, that's a bit more rigorous than I would be. I would say that >the strength of the programme, the heart of the programme is contributions >from staff correspondents. I would say that legitimately within the >programme we from time to time have used contributors who aren't staff >correspondents. A good example might be somebody like Andy Kershaw, who >did a couple of pieces for us a few years back from Africa, and they were >very good too, so the issue really is, not is he, or was he, a BBC >correspondent, but was it appropriate for him to do this particular >story? I would just say, no, you shouldn't use a non-correspondent for a >story which is that sensitive. > >PRESENTER: But he isn't just a non-correspondent. He is, we understand, >someone who has links with the British armed services, which were in part >the subject of his report. Do you believe that to be the case? > >JOBBINS: It is true that he has acknowledged to the programme's producer >that he was working for the armed forces in a capacity at that time. But >that was never signalled to the programme producer prior to transmission. > >PRESENTER: So in future will your checks have to be more rigorous? > >JOBBINS: Well, we've already established a number of additional >precautions in light of this particular experience. It must be said that, >you know, hindsight's a great thing, I'm a great believer in it, it's a >wonderful tool, but the reality is we've never been duped before, and I >don't, it's not an excuse, but um, Mike's been producing, Mike Problem's >been producing, this programme for twelve, maybe fifteen years. He's never >had this experience before, and certainly I've never had this complaint >before. > >PRESENTER: Shall we turn from that, from the person who made the report, >to the content of the report, because some of our listeners believe that, >irrespective of who wrote and delivered the piece, it shouldn't have been >transmitted because, in Richard Pond's words, he thought it was >'out-and-out propaganda'. Do you think it was a fair and objective piece >of reporting? > >JOBBINS: No. The programme producer in hindsight made a mistake, (a) in >commissioning the piece, and (b) on seeing it, using it. And nobody has >any problem with it, the programme producer acknowledges that, and we've >looked at why it happened, and, you know, and, sort of, if you like, his, >his mitigation for it, and I'm satisfied that it was a mistake which >started off with, if you like, an error of judgement, but it was an error >of judgement which was made in good faith. Somebody said they were >something which it turns out subsequently they weren't that but far more, >and secondly because of a sequence of, if you like, events - the, the, the >piece was run when, with hindsight, and using common sense, you'd say, that >piece did not meet our editorial guidelines. Certainly, it gave us pause >for thought, and we've already put in place pretty, you know, clear >guidelines to make absolutely sure it can't happen again. > >PRESENTER: And Tim Buckley, one of our correspondents, wants to know, are >you prepared to offer some sort of right to reply to, in his view, redress >the balance? > >JOBBINS: Well, I think the balance has been significantly redressed >anyway. I mean, not within this particular programme obviously, although >the subsequent edition did carry a piece from within Iraq which gave a much >richer picture of the story. In terms of the, if you like, specifically >inaccurate statements made in the piece, they were very rapidly corrected >within our general news output, as that information became >available. Anyone who listened to the World Service across that few days >would be in no doubt at all what the situation was. > >PRESENTER: Do you think this was damaging to From Our Own Correspondent and >to the BBC World Service's reputation? > >JOBBINS: Any mistake you make, um, damages your reputation. I think, >however, you have to see it in the context of thousands of hours of output >each month, and against a record, perhaps even of this individual programme >- it's both extremely popular with the audience and also with the >correspondents. It, I think, gives, 99.9% of the time, a remarkably >interesting perspective on world events. > >PRESENTER: Bob Jobbins, director of news for the English services of the >World Service. A spokesman for the MOD [Ministry of Defence] told us: >'Howard Leader made the broadcast mistakenly believing he had our >permission. Filing such a report was inappropriate, as he was on duty with >the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in a private capacity.' > >-- >----------------------------------------------------------------------- >This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq >For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org >Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: >http://www.casi.org.uk > -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk