Saturday, 9 June 2007

To the government's defence

Is it not slightly suspcious that the BBC, which usually studiously ignores or plays down controversial stories like allegations or "extraordinary rendition" - otherwise known as kidnapping and torture - suddenly promotes a non-story to the top of its news agenda. The Beeb reports somewhat naively that:
An inquiry has found no evidence that British airports were used by the CIA flying terrorist suspects for torture in other countries.
doesn't look at if they tried very hard - or are they just saying they don't know what happened to people once they were out of the country. As Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti says:
When politicians spin it is disappointing. When police engage in the same activity, it is rather more dangerous.
When the BBC does it, no-one really notices. And why did the BBC repeatedly call the findings of a 19 month Council of Europe investigation "claims"? The Telegraph has no problem reporting that:
The CIA ran secret prisons in Poland and Romania to interrogate and even torture some detainees in its "war on terror" under a programme authorised by the countries' presidents, an official European inquiry concluded yesterday.
It seems that the BBC's criteria for deciding to promote a story or treat it with scepticism are largely a question of whether it is helpful or embarrassing to the government.

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