Director, BBC News
BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
23rd November 2006
Re: BBC Newsnight and BBC File on 4
Dear Ms Boaden,
We write in relation to reports on BBC Radio 4's File on 4 and BBC 2's
Newsnight on Tuesday 14th November 2006. The reports by Richard Watson
examined the phenomena of 'radicalisation' in the Muslim community and
made serious allegations about our organisation.
Although it is our intention to write to you to make a formal complaint about these programmes in the near future, some serious information has come to light concerning one of the major sources used by the programmes.
In both programmes, allegations of criminality were made against Hizb ut-Tahrir, based on an interview with a source called "J" who was provided to the BBC by an organisation called Vigil. Vigil was presented as a reliable and committed organisation of ex-military and ex-intelligence staff who are committed to fighting the 'war on terror'. On Newsnight, Dominic Whiteman, a spokesperson for Vigil, said that "J" was a reliable source. No other evidence was presented by either programme to establish the credibility of "J".
After undertaking a brief investigation we have uncovered that contrary to the image of impartiality and credibility conferred by Richard Watson's reports, Vigil espouses Islamophobic and ultra right wing neo-conservative views and is closely linked to Zionist organisations. We have enclosed our findings.
We will be placing this information in the public domain and ask that you investigate whether there has been any breach of the BBC's editorial guidelines related to the use of anonymous sources, use of third party material in news, achieving impartiality, fact checking and the finding and checking of contributors.
Thanking you in advance of your reply.
Dr Imran Waheed
Media Representative – Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
View our investigation on Vigil