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June 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Tom Mangold

Following the conclusion of the BBC Trust that the BBC’s award-winning news magazine Panorama had used fake footage in a report alleging that British retailer Primark employed child labor in India to produce some clothing items, the former chief correspondent for the program is demanding an investigation into how the fraud came about. Writing in the London Sunday Independent, Tom Mangold, who worked on the program from 1976-2003, called last week’s revelation humiliating and asked why the BBC had defended the program for three years and why, even now, after being forced to apologize for the deception, no one is being held responsible for it. Mangold wrote that he had been told “in no uncertain terms” by members of Panorama‘s production staff “that many are deeply unhappy at the erosion of the journalistic checks and balances in the name of greater efficiency — a euphemism for making television on the cheap.” He suggested that many of the “firewalls” that were in place when he worked on the program have been removed and were certainly not in place during the production of the Primark exposé. But even more troubling, he asserts, is the fact that even after Primark presented the results of its own investigation to the BBC, senior managers continued to defend the program — a decision, he concluded, that has now “resulted in an editorial catastrophe not only for Panorama, the flagship [news program], but for all the corporation’s journalism.”