23 April 2003
Martin Bashir faces official criticism
The Broadcasting Standards Commission has partly upheld a complaint about Martin Bashir’s role in an edition of “Tonight with Trevor McDonald”.
The item was about Ms.Sufiah Yusof, who at the age of 16, ran away whilst at Oxford University. In an adjudication published yesterday, the BSC found that:
“Mr.Bashir misled Mr.Yusof [the girl’s father] into believing that he was investigating the involvement of the authorities in the disappearance of his daughter. [The BSC] takes the view that the programme-makers had lulled Mr.Yusof into a contrary belief for their own purposes, and had not given him a clear indication as to the nature and purpose of the programme. The Commission therefore finds unfairness to Mr.Yusof in this respect.”
Barrister Jonathan Cohen of Cloisters, instructed by solicitor Clare Kirby of http://www.kirbyandco.co.uk represented Mr.Yusof at the BSC hearing in February, and the adjudication was published online on 22nd April. The programme was broadcast by Granada on ITV on 8th March 2001.
Mr.Yusof had complained that he had been misled by the programme-makers.
He told the Commission that Mr.Bashir had sympathised with him and his family and had offered to lend his assistance in trying to find the truth about Sufiah’s disappearance. The Commission found that the programme-makers’ explanation that the purpose of the programme was not known from the earliest stages was unconvincing. The Commission’s finding that Mr.Bashir had misled Mr.Yusof was based on a recording of discussion that had taken place between them.
The full adjudication is published by the Commission at http://www.bsc.org.uk/pdfs/fairadj/yusof.htm. On two other aspects of Mr.Yusof’s complaint – that pre-broadcast assurances had not been adhered to, and that the item was unbalanced – the BSC found no unfairness to him.