Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Letter to head of BBC News

Dear Helen Boaden

I question the impartiality of Stephen Sackur in his recent Today interview with Mary Robinson over extraordinary renditions (ER). His opening "He's right, isn't he" ("he" being the US apologist for the CIA activity) is not impartial, and his rough tone with Robinson contrasted with his respectful treatment of the CIA speaker.

I have not heard in the BBC treatment of the topic much made about the unreliability of "evidence" extracted by torture or like duress. This is a very important point.

As a supporter of Amnesty and the Medical Foundation, and as contact for the Campaign for an Index of Human Rights in the UN, it seems to me that the BBC is treating the whole matter of torture and ER with far less weight than it deserves. Surely, to condone torture, even torture at one remove, is to loosen our hold on civilisation and democracy?

In addition to a response on the specific incident with S Sackur, can I have your assurance that you personally do wholeheartedly and unequivocally condemn the practice of torture?

Thank you

Richard Lawson

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