Saturday, June 18, 2005

America - Koffigate: BBC Response

I recently posted an email I sent to the BBC, criticizing them for reporting on two of their webpages, that Volcker had cleared Annan of wrongdoing in the UN oil for food scandal. A statement they know to be false because I have repeatedly emailed them about it.

In response, the BBC amended one article but not the other. And the one amendment is weak to say the least.

Here is their reply and my response to that.

Thank you for your comment on our Kofi Annan story. We have now amended
it to say the panel "found no evidence" of wrongdoing - not the same as
"cleared" him of wrongdoing. We also mention the criticism of Kofi Annan
by the Volcker panel.
Regards, Laurence Peter. Europe editor.

My response:

Mr. Peter,

Thank you for the reply and amending the article in question. However, there still remain several outstanding issues.

First, only one of the two articles was amended and one still contains the error stating Volcker's panel cleared Annan of wrongdoing. That article can be found here:

Second, while the panel in fact did say they "found no evidence" of wrongdoing, when pressed further Volcker stated emphatically that he had not cleared Annan of wrongdoing. By simply using the phrase "found no evidence" without noting Volcker's statement that he had specifically not cleared Annan of wrongdoing, you leave the public with the false impression that Annan was cleared. Why does the BBC continue to refuse to print Volcker's statement?

"Asked point-blank whether Mr. Annan had been cleared of wrongdoing in the $10 billion scandal, Mr. Volcker replied, "No."

This is particularly relevant in light of the discovery of the two Cotecna emails specifically naming Annan as having been in direct contact with the firm; something Annan has always denied.

And why does the BBC continue not to quote the lead investigators who say they did not clear Annan?

""We did not exonerate Kofi Annan," Swiss organized crime expert Mark Pieth, one of Volcker's three investigators, told The Associated Press."

It is obvious from reading these quotes that Volcker's panel has definitely not cleared Annan of wrongdoing. It is not obvious from reading the BBC website that this is the case.

Note also, the BBC never mentions that two of the three lead investigators resigned over the watering down of their findings in the interim report by Volcker.

I note your title is "Europe editor" and therefore you may be unable to amend the second article. Can you find someone who can?

Do you not feel the public are entitled to know the true nature of Annan's situation?


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