BBC faces harsh criticism

BBC’s admission that Dr David Kelly was “the principal source” for its allegation that the UK government had exaggerated intelligence on Iraqi weapons to justify war has brought it under attack by the government’s allies.

    Gilligan is accused of misquoting Kelly's views

    Politicians said the BBC’s disclosure had put its entire report into question, because Kelly himself had denied that he provided the allegation of the BBC report.


    Last week, Kelly said in parliament he could not believe the BBC report by journalist Andrew Gilligan came from him.


    Eric Illsley, a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, was quoted in The Independent newspaper as saying that BBC allegations that the September 2002 dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction appeared to have been “fabricated”.


    But Gilligan said in a statement late on Sunday: “I want to make it clear that I did not misquote or misrepresent Dr David Kelly.”


    The BBC journalist came under harsh criticism when the Sun tabloid ran a front-page headline, “ You rat”.


    “BBC man sinks to new low by calling dead doc a liar,” it said.


    The Guardian newspaper said BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, and the director general, Greg Dyke, turned down a government offer which might have prevented the suicide of Kelly.


    Kelly was found dead near his home on Friday with his wrist cut. Police said he had committed suicide.


    Basing the information it published on informed sources, the UK newspaper said that Davies and Dyke, who were both past Labour donors, had felt the need to prove their independence.


    “It emerged he’d found some accommodation with the government it would have destroyed his credibility within the organisation. He’d have been dismissed as a Labour pasty,” a senior MP said.


    The Independent newspaper reported that MPs have already called for Davies to resign.


    Blair relieved

    Blair (R) with Wen (L) vowed
    to produce peaceful world

    Such pressure on BBC has given UK Prime Minister Tony Blair space to breathe, after Kelly’s death led to a serious political crisis for the government.


    Blair continued his Far East tour on Monday in which he was starting a two-day stay in China to hold  talks with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.


    "The discussions we've just had privately now are an indication of how open and frank we are able to be with each other across a range of issues,” Blair said.


    He also said that it showed   "how much agreement there is on how we produce a world that is stable and properous, peaceful, where we are diminishing the possibility of conflict,"


    Blair was due to meet Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao on Monday.


    The Asian tour has already taken Blair to Tokyo and Seoul where he discussed with Japanese and South Korean leaders Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions and the possibility of holding multilateral talks on the issue. 

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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