16 March 2006

BBC misrepresent and distort remarks of US Senator

Sinn Féin

Published: 16 March, 2006

Sinn Féin today said that the BBC was either guilty of deliberate misinformation or the worst kind of unprofessional sloppy journalism after they ran a story wrongly claiming that Senator Ted Kennedy supported the position of the US Administration regarding Gerry Adams fundraising in the USA. Mr Kennedy had in fact stated the exact opposite at the press conference being reported by BBC NI journalists in Washington, and has previously been on the record stating this position.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson today said:

"Since early morning broadcasts the BBC have been running a story filed in Washington claiming that US Senator Ted Kennedy shared the position of the US Administration regarding Gerry Adams fundraising in the USA.

"The basis of this report was a press conference given by Senator Kennedy yesterday. However at that press conference Senator Kennedy once again clearly stated that his views on the matter differed from those held by the Administration a fact reported by other media outlets who attended the press briefing.

"However the BBC alone reported the exact opposite and continued to do this throughout much of today. This BBC story was then picked up by other outlets and has been widely covered during the course of today.

"This is a disgraceful piece of journalism and leaves very many questions needing to be answered by the BBC here in Belfast. The BBC need to tell us how a situation arose when their journalists alone distorted and misrepresented the content of yesterdays press briefing. Was this a case of unprofessional sloppy journalism or was it a case of deliberate misinformation. The public will draw their own conclusions.

"Sinn Féin will be writing to senior BBC management demanding answers to these and other very serious questions which this episode raises regarding the nature of BBC coverage." ENDS

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