BBC Digest 22 July 2020

LABOUR PARTY PAYS ‘SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGES’ TO BBC  PRESENTER’:  A report in the UK Press Gazette (22/7) said that the Labour party had paid substantial defamation damages to John Ware, the veteran BBC Panorama presenter’, over an edition of the programme broadcast in July 2019 which investigated the extent of anti-Semitism in party ranks. The report explained that an official party press release had falsely accused Mr Ware of ‘deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public, and had also claimed that he had invented quotes, flouted journalistic ethics and ‘knowingly promoted falsehoods’ in pursuit of a pre-determined outcome of the question posed by the programme title about anti-semtiism.  The Daily Mail (22/7) claimed that the total libel bill for the party  – which also included payments to seven ‘whistle-blowers’ featured in the programme – would top £500,000. The article also reported that the BBC had called the Labour press release ‘an extraordinarily vitriolic attack’.


BBC ‘DISTORTS PALESTINE’ REPORT: Hadar Sela (Camera UK 22/7)  alleged that the BBC ‘Hardtalk’ programme had allowed Husam  Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to London to misrepresent  – without sufficient challenge – the reasons for the expulsion of the Palestinian envoy to Washington in the US. Mr Sela said that in a question, the show’s host, Stephen Sackur had said that he had been expelled because the Trump administration did not want him around anymore, when the real reason was that Palestine had refused to engage in negotiations with Israel, and had thus flouted US laws pre-dating the Trump administration.

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