6.2.04

Beeb backs off from Hutton challenge

The BBC has said it will not be pursuing a legal challenge to Lord Hutton's report. With tension mounting among staff in the organisation it has decided to concentrate on healing its wounds within rather than continuing its scrap with the Government and its judiciary.

The reasoning of the BBC's legal team was nearly as narrow as Hutton in that they concluded that on the basis of Hutton's findings and the BBC's mistakes they would not seek to pursue an action for judicial review of Hutton's report.

While the BBC may have considered that their actions were not as white as Hutton's report the findings of that report remain questionable. Imposing a burden of proof on the media - as Hutton did - that suggests they need to be able to prove the truth in respect of information provided by confidential sources where that source is questioning the Government would be an outrageous development if accepted in law. It is an intrusion on free speech and a breach of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

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