Why hasn’t the BBC presenter at the centre of the allegations been named publicly? | UK News

Jul 11, 2023 | Uncategorized


Since the news broke on Friday that a male BBC star had allegedly requested explicit pictures from a then teenager in return for cash, many people have asked publicly, why his name has not been released.

The answer is complex, and invokes legal and editorial issues for news outlets in the UK.

One of the key considerations is that the allegations made in The Sun newspaper are just that – allegations.

It is not clear whether evidence has been seen by The Sun, and if it has, what that evidence is and who has supplied it.

Even then, other outlets, including Sky News, have not seen any evidence and would be relying on The Sun’s reporting.

It is also unclear if any laws have been broken, without knowing the content of the alleged photographs, and when exactly they were sent.

And for the BBC, bosses will obviously know who the man at the centre of this is, as they have suspended him, but even still, they will want to thoroughly investigate the allegations before releasing his name.

In an email to staff, director-general Tim Davie said the BBC was taking the allegations “incredibly seriously”.

He added: “By law, individuals are entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy, which is making this situation more complex.

“I want to assure you that we are working rapidly to establish the facts.”

Presenter claims latest: BBC to meet police today over scandal

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BBC suspends unnamed presenter

For other outlets, the UK has fairly strict defamation laws, which protect individuals against harm, reputational or otherwise, caused by things that have been said about them which turn out to be false.

Getting it wrong could ruin a person’s career, personal life and relationships – so there is significant risk to naming the man involved in this scandal, ethically, editorially and legally.

Even inference or innuendo, whether intentional or not, could also cause problems.

It is worth adding that laws around defamation do not just cover journalists, but everybody, so social media users posting online who they believe may or may not be involved, can still face legal action.

Joshua Rozenberg, a former BBC legal correspondent, said many newsrooms around the country know who the presenter is – but that they are currently not able to name him.

“There are two problems. One is privacy and the other is libel.

“The Supreme Court established that when someone is under investigation by a law enforcement agency they have this reasonable expectation of privacy.

“Libel… defamation. A lot of people named various people wrongly on social media on Sunday and the people who have been wrongly accused of these very serious allegations could well sue.

“It is a very risky thing to name somebody – to defame somebody – even if you’re just sending a tweet.

“If you say something about somebody which you can’t prove is true and they choose to sue you for libel or defamation then they will get damages from you, it will cost you a great deal of money, you will have to apologise and be forced to pay compensation.”

Read more:
Everything we know about the claims
The stars who have denied it’s them
Questions the BBC must answer

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Culture secretary avoids questions on BBC scandal

Nicky Campbell is among the presenters at the BBC who have already indicated they may involve the police, after people falsely named him as the person involved in this crisis on Twitter.

And speaking on his radio programme on Monday morning, Campbell said: “It was a distressing weekend for me and others who were falsely named…

“Today I’m having further conversations with the police in terms of malicious communication and lawyers in terms of defamation.”

Usually in journalism with stories related to crimes or involving police, outlets would not name someone involved in a crime until they have been charged – though there are exceptions to this.

This is because if they are released and the case is dropped, the damage has already been done to the person named.

When a person is charged, it is an indication that the police are confident, or at least has evidence, of someone’s guilt.



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