Statement of Principles:


David Watson extracts an apology from the BBC

Ten days ago we carried a report BBC’s Emily Maitlis simply assumes that accusations of antisemitism are true

David Watson updates us:

Following the Newsnight programme on 25th January when Emily Maitlis slandered me during her interview with Jon Lansman, I am pleased that my decision to escalate my complaint to the BBC Executive Complaints Unit has brought about a positive result.

In his decision, Fraser Steel writes, “I think more care should have been taken to avoid the possibility of giving the impression that the allegations against you had been endorsed by the Labour Party, and I’m upholding the complaint on that basis.”

However, it is clear from Mr Steel’s letter that he is trying to shift the onus on to Jon Lansman for not defending me, instead of accepting that Emily Maitlis as the presenter (not to mention the producers, editors and researchers of the BBC Newsnight programme) were responsible for my name being besmirched. Jon Lansman doesn’t have anything to do with the Labour Party Compliance Unit and could not be expected to know the details of my case.

In addition, in the interview (which is still available to view online!) Ms Maitlis refers to me as “having antisemitic views” without a shred of evidence. In what appears to be a malicious line of questioning by a prominent presenter, the BBC has slandered me as an anti-semite regardless of what the Labour Party decides.

Fraser Steel does not specify in his letter what action the BBC will take in recompense. Suffice to say I am still expecting an explicit apology and retraction, preferably from Ms Maitlis herself. If the producers wish to interview and allow me to put the record straight, I will be more than ready to condemn antisemitism and all types of racism unequivocally.

David Watson

3 comments to David Watson extracts an apology from the BBC

  • Yes well done but you should go on to insist that you should have the right to have the allegations corrected via an apology given on Newsnight. Such an apology should have equal prominence to the original allegations and a simple online apology is not sufficient.

  • David WATSON

    Thank you Tony, yes I agree with you wholeheartedly and am currently working on it.

  • Kathy McC

    I agree about a broadcast apology on Newsnight and told Fraser Steel that too. All too often they’ve published corrections and apologies in a backwater of the internet they’ve reserved for this.

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