Since the BBC Panorama Broadcast, as a former BBC man, I knew the BBC had absolutely nothing and could only afford to create a very low-standards programme based on a theatrical appearance of a man that looked very much like a mental patient on the run after escaping from a sanatorium.
The female movie star, Marion Thomas, has been found wanting, naked in the middle of the streets, in plain view of all passers-by. The hostage that never was, the woman that said on television that she committed fraud ‘because she was forced to’ is now a shadow of her former self with her reputation in tatters.
In my day, the BBC had very high standards. We did not try to compete with private mass media. Our aim was not to be the first to air the news. Our aim was to get our facts right and you can only get your facts right when proper verification is the fundamental priority.
I am very proud of John Tusa and of his role as Head of the BBC World Service. Balanced reporting, verification with at least three independent sources and non- biased approach to the news were the fundamental rules and not exceptions. These rules gave the BBC and in particular the BBC World Service worldwide respect and admiration.
The stories used by the BBC could have been properly verified but BBC producers, and in particular Mr Darragh McIntyre, were more interested in producing a libellous and defamatory programme than in producing real journalism subject to old BBC standards.
This is not news. We remember the Dr David Kelly Affair and another tragic BBC cockup. The rush to get the news out led to the death of Dr Kelly. Despite several enquiries, the doubts surrounding the death of the British expert will forever remain in the minds of the public and what happened will continue to blemish the reputation of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
As a former BBC man – I must say that emotionally I will be forever linked to the British Broadcasting Corporation – I adhere to the old high standards of the British Broadcasting Corporation, standards that made us all extremely proud of saying that we were members of the BBC.