29.1.04

Hutton's findings fuel a Government led assualt on Free Speech

Even after the second resignation at the BBC in the form of Greg Dyke, the Government is still demanding an apololgy from the BBC. It is being blinded by the smokescreen of its own arrogance.

The specific allegation made by Andrew Gilligan in one broadcast at 6.07am was unfounded BUT the basis for the overall story and doubts over WMD and the 45 minute claim were well founded and have been proven to be true.

The BBC should and did apologise for Gilligan's unfounded claim BUT should not have to apologise for running a legitimate story in the public interest. The Hutton Report and the Government are in effect saying you are not allowed to question the truth of Government claims. The JIC's and Governments own checks into the 45 minute claim and associated intelligence is as sloppy and worthy of condemnation as Gilligan's journalistic sloppiness. At least Gilligan didn't lead us to war with his claims.

This is a major assault on the democratic process, a free press and the BBC. The reason the Government are so upset is that more people trust the BBC than them - you can shoot the messanger but not the message.

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