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Re: e-mail the beeb

Well done Tim and Richard for this piece of successful activism!

Best wishes,

voices uk

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Pond <>
To: <>
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
>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
>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.'
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For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

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