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No 10 stance regarding BBC's objectivity

At the beginning of this week The Times published an article by Rosemary Bennett -Deputy Political Editor- about the perception of the British admin with respect to the reports of the BBC on Iraq. I consider of paramount importance to share this article with Vcrisis readers, for objectivity's sake and for future reference on Venezuelan issues presented by the non-credible BBC. Aleksander Boyd

BBC report on Baghdad's fears enrages No 10

Downing Street strongly criticised the BBC yesterday after a radio report claimed that looters had left Iraqis more frightened than Saddam Hussein's regime. After weeks of private sniping at the corporation's war coverage, Tony Blair's aides decided to go public, saying that the BBC appeared quickly to have forgotten the brutalities of the past two decades. They singled out a report by Andrew Gilligan, who, in his dispatch from the capital, said that residents in Baghdad were living in greater fear than they had ever known.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "To lurch, as someone people appear to have done, into the idea that the situation in Baghdad is worse than before the coalition arrived is to try to rewrite history of one of the brutal regimes we have had in the 20th century. Try telling that to relatives of those people who were fed head first into shredders. Try telling that to the residents of Baghdad who saw someone beaten to death with their tongue cut out. I don't think even the Iraqi Information Minister would have justified that."

In the report on looting, broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Gilligan said: "People here may be free, but they are passing their first few days of freedom in more fear than they have ever known before, actually. I mean the old fear was, you know, habitual, low-level. This is a much greater fear, that their property is going to be invaded, their daughters will be raped and they will be killed." The BBC said: " Andrew has been in Baghdad since before the war started and has witnessed events there at firsthand. On Friday's Today programme he was drawing attention to the heightened fears of immediate violence that he now detects among the people of Baghdad he has been speaking to. Andrew reported the lawlessness that has developed on the streets of the city, including the beating to death of a young boy. Similar reports have been carried out by many other news organisations."

Frustration at BBC war reporting has been growing in Downing Street. Reporters had failed to reflect that, before the fall of Baghdad this week, most of their contact was with supporters of the regime and as a result they overestimated the resistance that coalition forces would face, advisers said.


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