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[casi] The Wrap: BBC goes on offensive

--------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: Guardian Unlimited <>
To: Guardian Unlimited <>
Subject: The Wrap: BBC goes on offensive
Date: Mon,  7 Jul 2003 08:58:04 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <20030707085804.E7AB7464@herring.gul3.gnl>

The Wrap: BBC goes on offensive
George Wright
07 July 2003


With a Commons report on the intelligence background to the Iraq war due
out today, neither the BBC nor Alistair Campbell appears be giving ground
in their battle over a so-called "dodgy dossier" containing claims that
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The BBC board of governors, after a two-and-a-half hour emergency meeting
yesterday, has gone on the offensive calling on Mr Campbell to withdraw
claims that the corporation unfairly accused the government of "sexing
up" the case for war.

Its statement endorsing its war coverage is "about as far from an apology
as it's possible to get", says a governor quoted on the front page of the
FT, and it sets the BBC on a "collision course" with Mr Campbell
according to the Independent.

As the row escalates, the Daily Mail - not normally a staunch defender of
the Beeb - condemns as "despicable" a "thinly disguised threat that the
BBC's royal charter could be at risk unless it climbs down and

In its editorial, the paper goes on to remind Tony Blair and his
ministers that the BBC will be here "long after this bunch of pygmy
politicians have left the stage".

In a Guardian interview, Robin Cook, former leader of the Commons, makes
what the paper calls a "withering attack" on Mr Campbell for using the
row with the BBC as a "red herring" to distract attention from proper
scrutiny of whether or not there was any evidence of WMDs.

*Governors back BBC in row over Iraq dossier,12956,992999,00.html
 *Blair dispute with BBC set to escalate

Guardian Unlimited copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003.
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: 164
Deansgate, Manchester M60 2RR

--------- End forwarded message ----------

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