Campaigners react with “dismay” as BBC caves in to Trafigura

Libel reform campaigners have reacted with "dismay" as the BBC conceded to Trafigura in the High Court. In a statement, the BBC apologised to the toxic waste firm.

Libel reform campaigners have reacted with “dismay” at the BBC’s decision to concede to toxic waste shippers Trafigura in the High Court. In a statement, the BBC said it withdrew “the allegation that deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries were caused by the waste and apologises to Trafigura for having claimed otherwise.”

The case was brought by Carter Ruck on behalf after the BBC claimed in its Newsnight programme of 13 May 2009 titled ‘Dirty Tricks and Toxic waste‘ that Trafigura had caused deaths by being involved in the dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. A number of blogs carried the report even after it was removed by the BBC. In February 2007, Reuters reported that “Ivory Coast has confirmed the deaths of a five more people from exposure to toxic waste dumped in Abidjan last August, taking the death toll to 15.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu concluded in a report on 3 September 2009 that:

“On the basis of the above considerations and taking into account the immediate impact on public health and the proximity of some of the dumping sites to areas where affected populations reside, the Special Rapporteur considers that there seems to be strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences are related to the dumping of the waste from the Probo Koala.”

John Kampfner, CEO of Index on Censorship said:

“Sadly, the BBC has once again buckled in the face of authority or wealthy corporate interests. It has cut a secret deal. This is a black day for British journalism and once more strengthens our resolve to reform our unjust libel laws.”

Jonathan Heawood, Director of English PEN, said:

“Forced to choose between a responsible broadcaster and an oil company which shipped hundreds of tons of toxic waste to a developing country, English libel law has once again allowed the wrong side to claim victory. The law is an ass and needs urgent reform.”

Hat-tip: The Libel Reform Campaign

18 Responses to “Campaigners react with “dismay” as BBC caves in to Trafigura”

  1. Richard Wilson

    Nice post. Incidentally, it also turns out that the “20 experts” who concluded that Trafigura’s waste was harmless were all hired by the company, according to CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/09/18/toxic.ivory.coast/index.html

  2. Trafigura Intimidates The BBC. « ModernityBlog

    […] this instance, they’ve managed to intimidate the rather weak will BBC as Left Foot Forward reports: “Libel reform campaigners have reacted with “dismay” at the BBC’s decision to concede […]

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Says everything one needs to know about the useless, biased BBC – what a spineless bunch of lamers they prove they are (again).

    Scrap the BBC I say….

  4. Swagata

    Where’s the Justice Minister when you need him?

  5. RupertRead

    Campaigners react with "dismay" as BBC caves into toxic killers #Trafigura http://bit.ly/60poUF

  6. Mark Randall

    RT @BigGibb http://www.libelreform.org/ Sign the #LibelReform petition. Free speech is not for sale. #Trafigura also – http://bit.ly/60poUF

  7. Garry Dent

    Carter-Ruck, bully boy libel lawyers, force BBC to concede http://ping.fm/fImzU

  8. Dani Ahrens

    @bengoldacre This, apparently: http://bit.ly/60poUF

  9. Tom Miller

    RT @Leftfootfwd Campaigners react with "dismay" as BBC caves into toxic killers #Trafigura http://bit.ly/60poUF

  10. Liberal Conspiracy » Trafigura victory over BBC fuels libel reform calls

    […] BBC’s concession has already fuelled calls for libel reform, as Left Foot Forward […]

  11. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by leftfootfwd: Campaigners react with “dismay” as BBC caves into toxic killers #Trafigura http://bit.ly/60poUF

  12. Paul

    RT @dontgetfooled: Please RT! @leftfootfwd Campaigners react with "dismay" as BBC caves into toxic killers #Trafigura http://bit.ly/60poUF

  13. Tony Durham

    RT @martinhearson: Campaigners react with "dismay" as BBC caves into toxic killers #Trafigura http://bit.ly/60poUF (RT @leftfootfwd)

  14. Richard Smedley

    RT @martinhearson: Campaigners react with "dismay" as BBC caves into toxic killers #Trafigura http://bit.ly/60poUF

  15. blogs of the world

    Libel reform campaigners have reacted with dismay as the BBC conceded to Trafigura in the High Court. In … http://reduce.li/nx37l8 #foot

  16. Carter Ruck make the BBC squeal (again) | Letters From A Tory

    […] public scrutiny. The BBC’s concession has already fuelled calls for libel reform, as Left Foot Forward report. English PEN and Index on Censorship have expressed dismay at the outcome. Their joint […]

  17. sly and reggie

    To criticize the BBC for trying to make an honest piece of journalism is sick. To then call them spineless when they dont want to blow 3 million quid trying to prove a point is even sicker.
    Who would you rather have report the news? Trafigura press department supported by Carter Ruck?

    http://middleclassmayhem.wordpress.com/

  18. Bill Ellson

    RT @blogsoftheworld Libel reform campaigners have reacted with dismay as the BBC conceded to Trafigura http://reduce.li/nx37l8 #foot

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