Last night the SKWAWKBOX published exclusive evidence showing a BBC journalist not only leaking sensitive information to an anti-Corbyn activist in the London borough of Haringey – but sending it to her about ten hours before it was sent to its proper recipients.
The information in question was intended to affect Labour Party candidate selection procedures after a complaint about a sitting councillor – but also included the journalist’s personal opinions about the case and about statements made by the complainant against the councillor.
The email also confirmed that the journalist had access to information that made clear that a complaint last year by the councillor, which the journalist published unchallenged in a BBC report, was untrue.
The leaking of the email and the information it contained raised serious questions about the ethics and appropriateness of sending it – and about the BBC’s impartiality in the way information and claims were presented.
The identity of the journalist and councillor in question, along with details of the information and the untrue claim, will be released shortly in a separate article. However, after the journalist declined to answer any further questions and asked the SKWAWKBOX to contact the BBC, we sent full details of the events to the BBC, with a request for answers to the following, important questions:
- is it considered appropriate and ethical behaviour by a BBC journalist to be sending information regarding a sensitive disciplinary case to a third party? When we first spoke to Ms _____ this evening, she denied having sent the information to Ms Mulready.
- Ms ______ wrote to the LCF:
“I also saw the actual emails sent by ________ to Cllr ____ and to other Labour members which – in terms tone and language – did appear to be intimidatory. But, to be clear, it was not _________ who gave me those emails.”
This is clearly a personal opinion rather than a communication of someone else’s, but when we challenged Ms _________ about this earlier, she claimed she was merely communicating someone else’s opinion. Is this appropriate?
- As noted in question two, she stated that she ‘saw the actual emails’. A BBC article written by Ms ________ quoted Ms _____, unchallenged, claiming [something that was disproven by one of those emails]
- we asked Ms _______ whether she was unaware that Ms Mulready resigned from the Labour Party the day before a Labour disciplinary hearing into allegations of bullying against her? She has asked us to put the question to the BBC press office
- we asked Ms ______ whether she didn’t realise how sharing that information with a 3rd party would raise concerns about collusion between the BBC and anti-left figures if it ever came to light. She has asked us to put the question to the BBC press office
- Did a BBC Senior manager authorise this journalist to write to the Labour party and intervene in an internal disciplinary case?
- Did Ms ______ know Cllr _____, Nora Mulready, Claire Kober or any of the other pro-HDV figures before being allocated to the case? If so, why was she still given it?
The BBC’s response, which was sent with instructions to attribute it to a ‘spokesperson’:
We are confident our reporting met our editorial standards.
That was the sum total of the response.
- Nothing about ethics. Nothing about appropriateness
- No answer whether a BBC manager had authorised the intervention or whether the BBC journalist knew key pro-HDV, anti-Momentum figures personally and had been given the case anyway
- Nothing about whether the journalist knew Ms Mulready’s relevant circumstances when she sent her information about a disciplinary case involving someone else
- No response to the claim by the journalist that she had seen emails sent to the councillor, one of which disproved a claim by the councillor that the journalist published without comment or challenge
- No answer to concerns about the danger of the appearance of collusion in a BBC journalist sharing sensitive information with a partisan activist, even before it was sent to its proper recipients
Just a one-line answer to a question that we hadn’t asked.
We wrote back to the BBC:
This is entirely unresponsive to almost every question asked – and you kept us waiting all day for it.The questions about ethics and appropriateness of a BBC journalist intervening in a political party matter and sending information to a hostile third party – and about whether Ms ______ had the BBC’s permission to do so – remain completely unanswered.Is the BBC going to respond to those questions or ignore them?
As we have received no answer almost six hours later, it seems the BBC is going to ignore them.
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