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April 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The London School of Economics has strongly criticized the BBC for secretly embedding three of its reporters among a group of LSE students visiting North Korea. In a statement, the renowned British university accused the BBC of using the students as a “human shield” and putting them at risk with such tactics. Ordinarily, western journalists, when they are allowed to enter North Korea at all, are placed under strict surveilance and supervision by authorities. The LSE said that it had not been made aware that the three BBC journalists had joined their party. “Their purpose, posing as tourists, was to film and record covertly during the visit in order to produce the Panorama program,” it observed. Panorama is the BBC’s flagship magazine program, akin to the U.S.’s 60 Minutes. The program about North Korea is scheduled to be broadcast tonight (Monday). But Ceri Thomas, head of news programs for the BBC, said that the journalists had informed the students of their plans. “We think the risks as we explained them to the students were justified,” he told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “But I need to be absolutely clear that if we had any suggestion that lives were at risk or anything approaching that — either the BBC team’s lives or the lives of the students — then we wouldn’t have gone anywhere near this.”