Questions from the Licence Payer
Dear Mr MacIntyre,
I would appreciate your early response to the questions below:
1. The BBC and violence
BBC "MacIntyre Undercover" Journalist James Raven
20 Aug 2004 – Found guilty of the murder of a man tortured to death in front of his children.
During the BBC man's trial, it emerged that the £40k-a-year journalist had tortured his victim to death in Cheshire, having tied up his children and forced them to watch. Brian Waters was beaten, whipped, burned and attacked with an industrial staple gun. He died after being hung upside down and sexually assaulted with a metal bar.
BBC Panorama Presenter and Reporter Raphael Rowe
Rowe was himself convicted of murder and spent 12 years behind bars before being cleared after the Appeal Court ruled his conviction was unsafe.
Rowe has a string of other convictions for robbery and theft, including one for malicious wounding.
Soon after being released from prison, Rowe began training as a BBC journalist, and in September 2001 landed a job as an investigative reporter for Radio 4's Today programme.
BBC TV and BBC Radio Four Broadcaster Laurence Westgaph
The 34-year-old BBC expert flew into a rage, repeatedly punching his love rival in the face and fracturing his eye socket, a court was told. At one point, it was even thought he had bitten the other man's ear off.
Westgaph has appeared on TV and radio discussing the slave trade.
In September 2009 Westgaph was convicted of grievous bodily harm and given a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
In 2000 he was given a community order after being found to have had sex with an underage girl.
BBC TV News Presenter Ashley Blake, "Inside Out"
In September 2009 he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment after being convicted of assault.
Blake scarred a 17-year-old for life after inflicting serious facial injuries with a wooden pole. As a result of the wounding trial, Blake's previous criminal record was revealed. He had been convicted of theft on six occasions (twice in 1986, three times in 1987 and once in 1993) and handling stolen goods in 1988. In 1988, Blake was found guilty of altering documents following a traffic collision, resulting in him being disqualified from driving, a ban he broke in 1990.
Question: Was the BBC aware of the serious criminal background of those it employed or is the BBC's investigative journalism department incapable of investigating its own staff?
Question: Do you think the BBC in general and BBC Panorama in particular are in any position to distort and sensationalise relatively minor criminal convictions of small numbers of individuals in other organisations?
2. The BBC and illegal drugs
BBC Radio One DJ Grooverider, real name Raymond Bingham
Jailed for four years in Dubai after smuggling drugs into the United Arab Emirates in February 2008.
BBC "999 Lifesavers" star Natasha Collins and BBC Presenter Mark Speight
Natasha Collins was found dead in a bath in 2008 due to a massive cocaine overdose. Boyfriend Mark Speight, a BBC presenter, was initially arrested on suspicion of murder and supplying class A drugs.
A few months later, Speight was reported missing and was found to have committed suicide by hanging himself near Paddington Station.
BBC Europe Correspondent Jonny Dymond
March 2008 – The 38-year-old was detained by transport police at Vilnius Airport, in Lithuania, after illegal drugs were found in his bag.
Dymond, a radio and TV news reporter, is understood to have been on holiday alone in Lithuania. He was checking in for a flight to London, when he was arrested.
At a court hearing in the capital Vilnius, he pleaded guilty to carrying drugs and was fined £230 for possession.
He told the court he bought them in a nightclub when he was drunk.
A BBC spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident, which happened in his own time. He recognises that he has been foolish."
A BBC insider said it was not a sackable offence. "It's likely that the BBC will speak to him about this but it probably won't go any further.”
BBC Children's TV Presenter Richard Bacon
Admitted to using class A drugs after a Sunday newspaper described him as a "cocaine-snorting sneak”. Currently working for BBC Radio Five.
BBC TV star John Alford, "Casualty"
Convicted of supplying class A drugs to the News of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, and subsequently jailed for nine months.
BBC Reporter Peter Lloyd
18 July 2008 – Lloyd was arrested in Singapore, and the local police charged him with drug-related offences. Police had alleged that Lloyd was found in possession of a small quantity of the drug 'ice', one improvised smoking pipe, and six syringes.
The Singaporean police said that his urine tested positive for amphetamines and he was being investigated for trafficking a controlled drug. Lloyd was released on bail of SGD 60 000, posted by his lover Mohamed Mazlee bin Abdul Malik.
In November 2008, Singapore's Attorney-General dropped the harsher trafficking charge against Lloyd, leaving him to face four lesser charges. On 2 December 2008, Lloyd was sentenced to ten months in jail after pleading guilty to three of the charges.
Question: Considering the culture of drug abuse seemingly epidemic at senior and middle levels of BBC staff, what drug testing measures are employed by the Corporation?
Question: Has the BBC ever tested the toilet cubicles in its own buildings for evidence of cocaine use?
Question: Do you consider that the vital role that BBC staff play in imparting information to the British public makes it particularly important that BBC staff are not stupefied by narcotics whilst on duty?
Question: How many other BBC staff have drug-related criminal convictions?
Question: Does the BBC have a moral obligation to ensure high standards amongst staff, especially in the light that their salaries and expenses are paid directly by the public?
3. The BBC and sexual depravity
BBC Presenter Peter Rowell
On 22 April 2011, Avon and Somerset Police announced that Rowell had been charged with four counts of indecent assault, dating back to the 1990s, and had been remanded in custody.
In May 2011, Rowell was charged with seven counts of possessing and making indecent images of children along with seven counts of indecent assault against girls under the age of 16.
On 9 June 2011, it was announced that Mr Rowell would stand to face charges relating to a fifth victim, including rape of a minor. He appeared in North Avon Magistrates' Court to face three new charges: two of indecent assault and one of rape against a 16-year-old victim.
He was released on bail, having had a curfew imposed by the courts. He was also ordered to surrender his passport. He returned to court on June 24 for a plea hearing on these latest charges and was released on bail with conditions attached until October 2011.
BBC Radio Bristol managing editor Tim Pemberton said: "Peter has worked for Radio Bristol for about a year now. His colleagues here respect and like him and the audience have responded very well to him."
BBC Producer Benjamin Wilkins
March 2010 – Secretly taped a series of sexual liaisons with TV and radio presenters using a hidden camera. He hid the CCTV device in a smoke alarm directly above his bed to record his encounters with a succession of ten lovers. Another camera was hidden in a 'moveable ornament' in his bathroom.
The "cool and calculating" broadcaster took the women back to his flat where he recorded them having sex with him.
Many of them hold senior positions in television and radio – both presenting and in production roles – but cannot be named for legal reasons.
One of his victims said he had left her feeling "violated, sick and dirty".
He was jailed for eight months and was ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for ten years after admitting 11 counts of voyeurism, including filming five women and setting up the cameras.
BBC Radio Producer Andrew Brennand
September 2010 – Admitted seven counts of exposure and two of sexual assault. Describing him as a 'sexual predator' from whom 'no female in Burnley was safe', Judge Beverley Lunt sentenced Brennand to a three-year community order with supervision.
He must also attend a sex offender programme and receive psychological treatment.
His nine victims, some of them dog walkers, were aged between 15 and 60 and were said to have been 'left shocked, scared and very upset by his actions'.
BBC Sports Producer Martyn Smith, "Match of the Day"
2009 London Southwark Court – Smith pleaded guilty to 14 sample counts of making indecent photographs of a child on or before 2 April 2009.
Sentencing Judge Andrew Goymer said some of the material was "quite unspeakable... and repulsive in the extreme".
"It involves serious sexual activity by adults with very young children indeed and any decent person would be appalled by it."
The court heard one of the victims was a baby under 12 months old being subjected to "penetrative sex". Another was two years old.
All the images were of boys. He was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to take part in an internet sex offenders' treatment programme.
During the trial the judge was handed a sheaf of character references, including some from "fairly well-known names".
Question: Can you reveal the "fairly well-known names" within the BBC who offered to defend a man convicted of crimes involving the sexual abuse of a baby under 12 months old?
Question: Considering the access to children and vulnerable people that BBC staff enjoy, what checks do they make to insure the safety of the public? How many BBC staff are currently on the sex offenders register or have been convicted of crimes of a sexual nature?
4. BBC Panorama and the missing millions
June 2009 BBC Panorama: IVF Undercover – £900,000
Top IVF doctor, who is said to have helped mothers give birth to 2,300 babies in seven years, accuses BBC Panorama programme of making defamatory allegations.
The BBC came to a settlement with the Egyptian-born doctor, with the Corporation paying both sides' legal bills estimated to be £900,000.
October 2006 BBC Panorama: The Price of Blood - £1,000,000
Reported on an unsuccessful prosecution in Italy of Paolo and Guelfo Marcucci, the owners of the Marcucci group of companies which included, at the time, the biopharmaceutical company Sclavo SpA.
The programme alleged that the Marcuccis had sold or distributed blood-derivative products that were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C, or which were likely to be infected.
During a High Court hearing, the BBC accepted that the allegations were untrue and expressed regret that any impression was given to the contrary. The BBC apologised to the Marcuccis and agreed to pay substantial damages and their legal costs.
May 1994 BBC Panorama: The Halcion Nightmare – £4,000,000
The BBC lost another Panorama libel case against American drug company Upjohn. In his decision Mr Justice May stated, "The seriousness of the libels against Upjohn is in my judgement obvious and great."
The multi-party action over the sleeping pill Halcion took 65 days and is estimated to have generated total costs of £4m. Last week one of the law chambers involved had to call in removal men to clear part of the paperwork.
The programme was edited by current BBC Director General Mark Thompson.
October 1984 BBC Panorama : Maggie's Militant Tendency - £1,000,000
The programme alleged that two Conservative party figures were secret extremist Nazi supporters and was met with libel action against the BBC.
The BBC capitulated on 21 October and paid the pair's legal costs from the publicly funded licence fee. Both were awarded £20,000 each, and in the next edition of Panorama on 27 October, the BBC made an unreserved apology to both. The total cost of the trial, including the remedy awarded to the claimants, reached £1 million.
Question: According to the BBC's charter it must represent the interests of licence fee payers and exercise rigorous stewardship of public money. Do you think that BBC Panorama complies with this regulation?
5. The BBC deception and fabrication of evidence
June 2009 BBC Panorama: "Young Gunmen"
BBC investigated by Merseyside Police after allegations were made in Liverpool Crown Court that a teenager was paid money to pose with guns and ammunition for the programme. The cost of the investigation in terms of money and wasted police time remains unknown.
February 2010 BBC Panorama: "What Next for Craig?"
A Panorama programme 'distorted' some known facts in a report on research into the treatment of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the BBC Trust announced. The BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) partially upheld an appeal over a complaint about BBC1's flagship current affairs show, titled What Next for Craig?, which aired on 12 November 2007. An apology was broadcast during a future edition of Panorama, and the BBC's deputy director general Mark Byford met with the committee to ensure the breaches of the editorial guidelines are not repeated.
October 2009 BBC Panorama: "Why Hate Ryanair?"
Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara: "Panorama has repeatedly refused Ryanair's offer of an unedited interview, either live or pre-recorded, because they know these false claims are rubbish and they don't stand up to scrutiny.
"Ryanair calls on the BBC to explain why Panorama refuses to provide balance in its programming and why licence payers are funding such rubbish-filled investigations which don't stand up to scrutiny."
Question: We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, and note that Ryanair used the same defence mechanism that we adopted! Why does Panorama persist in refusing to allow its victims the right to unedited interviews in which the record could be put straight?
December 2007 BBC Panorama: "Wi-Fi: A Warning Signal"
The BBC upheld complaints from viewers that the programme makers exaggerated the evidence for concerns about wireless technology.
Another complainant said the documentary, which was screened last May, was unbalanced. The BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) was called in and said the programme "gave a misleading impression of the state of scientific opinion on the issue".
November 2007 BBC Panorama: "The Mystery of Madeleine McCann"
A producer quit a BBC programme about Madeleine McCann as he felt the documentary verged "on the dishonest".
David Mills, who was the original producer on the Panorama special on the disappearance, walked out after an angry row with the programme's editor and then wrote a stinging email to the BBC, attacking it for losing its journalistic passion.
He said: "So far as I can see, investigative journalism at the BBC is over."
June 2011 BBC Panorama: "Primark: On the Rack"
The BBC handed back a prestigious award it won for a Panorama programme after an investigation found it "more likely than not" included faked footage of child labour.
The corporation won the Current Affairs Home Prize at the Royal Television Society awards for its show Primark: On the Rack, which was broadcast in June 2008.
It apologised to fashion chain Primark after a report by the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee found a 45-second-long clip should not have been included.
A BBC spokesman said today: "The BBC has apologised for including a short section of film which could not be authenticated in the Panorama programme Primark – On the Rack.
"We acknowledge that a serious error was made and therefore it would be inappropriate to keep the RTS award."
As well as apologising on BBC1, the corporation was forced to display an apology on the Panorama website for a week and was told the footage can never be repeated or sold abroad.
The BBC could still be hit with a fine for breaching broadcasting as the media regulator Ofcom has said it will consider any complaint made to it by Primark.
From the BBC's Editorial Guidelines:
"The BBC is committed to achieving due accuracy. This commitment is fundamental
to our reputation and the trust of audiences, which is the foundation of the BBC.
It is also a requirement under the Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter."
Question: Do you consider BBC Panorama to be complying with this?
6. The BBC Secret Agent trial collapse cost and apology to Nick Griffin and his family
In July 2004 after months of bugging and covert recording, BBC Panorama's "Secret Agent" programme was broadcast on BBC One. The programme used highly selective extracts from several speeches made by Mr Griffin. The following morning on BBC Breakfast News, the producer Karen Wightman stated that she hoped that the CPS would press charges, using the secretly recorded footage.
Subsequently, British National Party Chairman Nick Griffin was arrested early one morning at his home and tried twice at Leeds Crown Court in 2006. He was cleared of all charges by the two juries, who, significantly, saw his recorded speeches in full, rather than the edited clips used by Panorama to give a false impression of his message to voters at the meetings in question.
Mr Griffin had been accused of inciting racial hatred by warning that home-grown Muslim extremists would commit acts of terrorism in the UK, including blowing up tube trains and buses in London, and that gangs of Muslim men were engaged in sexual predation against English children.
On the morning of Thursday 7 July 2005, four terrorists detonated four bombs, three in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two people, as well as the four bombers, were killed in the attacks, and over 700 more were injured.
Subsequently, newspaper reports have revealed an epidemic of rape, drugging and prostitution of British children by Muslim men. Several trials have recently taken place illustrating the scale of the problem.
Question: Can you tell me the amount of public money employed by the BBC in the production of the "Secret Agent"? Further to this, can you tell me how much public money was spent on the two failed court cases arising from the programme?
Question: Has anyone from the BBC ever apologised to Mr Griffin and his family?
Question: Has Panorama any plans to make future programmes dealing with the problems of sexual grooming by Muslim men of children from other communities, or about the links between the heroin epidemic and gangs from the Muslim community?
7. BBC Panorama duty of balance and impartiality
This is the third Panorama programme to focus on the British National Party in just ten years.
Question: Considering the BBC's duty towards impartiality and balance, can you explain why a BBC Panorama investigation has never been conducted into the subversive and violent activities of the far left?
Question: Further to this, how does BBC Panorama defend commissioning Gerry Gable and Nick Lowles of the communist front group "Searchlight" to assist with its programmes, particularly in view of the extensive criminal records of key figures within the Searchlight operation and their long-term associates?
8. BBC Panorama investigation into the BBC
Question: Considering the extensive evidence of violent and serious criminal convictions, drug abuse and sexual depravity, coupled with details of financial mismanagement and breaches of its charter, would Panorama consider an investigation into the BBC itself?
Question: Has such an investigative exposé ever been considered, and if not, why not?
9. BBC Panorama journalistic integrity
Question: The BBC has a legal obligation to operate within the terms of its charter. Failure to do so constitutes a criminal offence.
Examining the rudimentary details here, detailing extremely serious shortcomings within the BBC in general and BBC Panorama in particular, as a journalist bound by the code of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability, will you be handing this evidence to the police?
Take action against the BBC now
As a TV Licence holder, you are the employer of the BBC.
Register your disgust at the bias and hypocrisy of the BBC by emailing these questions to the addresses below and firmly but politely demanding answers:
Call Darragh MacIntyre on 07736 021 181 and put these questions to him directly
BBC: Make a complaint:
Phone: 03700 100 222 or Textphone: 03700 100 212
PO Box 1922