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10pm News/Sambrook

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Joined: 03 Jun 2004
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I was moved to write to Richard Sambrook last week after someone on the 10O'Clock news described 24th June as one of the bloodiest days since Saddam. I received a reply today. Here's my original message and then the reply below.

MS> The 10pm news on BBC1 yesterday (24/06/2004) (shown later due to
MS> extended football coverage) described yesterday as "one of the worst
MS> since Saddam" due to the high death count (estimated at up to 100 at
MS> the time I think?). Even the most cursory examination of the facts
MS> would reveal that there have been many far bloodier days "since
MS> Saddam". The fact that most of this bloodshed has been at the hands of
MS> coalition forces rather than those resisting their occupation should
MS> make it more newsworthy rather than less so. Please ask your team to
MS> be careful in this regard. We are all responsible for these deaths to
MS> some degree and your unique position comes with extra responsibility
MS> in the matter of ensuring that this is not forgotten. This is true
MS> regardless of the morality or legality of this war.

Dear Mr Southall
Thanks for your email regarding the Ten O'Clock News of June 24th. Of
course you are absolutely right to point out that there have been
bloodier days in Iraq since the fall of Saddam. Nevertheless, I have
checked the chronology, and the casualties were serious enough I
think, to warrant such an assertion. I hope it was perfectly clear
that we were not suggesting this was 'the' bloodiest day since the
fall of Saddam, because that would have been wrong.

We certainly don't seek to downplay casualties, whether they be from
coalition action in Fallujah for example, or from car bombs, which of
course tend to kill more Iraqis than westerners.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Sambrook
Director, BBC News
Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:31 pm
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