HUTTON REPORT IS A “THREAT TO INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM”: ATTACKS ON ANDREW GILLIGAN ARE “UNFOUNDED”

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) | 28 January 2004

The Hutton report’s criticisms of Andrew Gilligan and the BBC are “unfounded”, the NUJ said today. The union’s General Secretary Jeremy Dear said that blaming the BBC and its reporter for the trouble his broadcasting caused the government was “a threat to independent journalism.” Jeremy Dear said: “I have spoken to Andrew Gilligan today and I believe the report does him and his story a grave injustice. “Whatever Lord Hutton may think, it is clear from the evidence he heard that the dossier was ‘sexed up’, that many in the intelligence services were unhappy about it, and that Andrew Gilligan’s story was substantially correct. “From Andrew Gilligan’s 19 broadcasts on that first morning, Lord Hutton has taken a single sentence barely noticed at the time and has used it to condemn the entire story. “He has taken an unwarranted sideswipe at Andrew Gilligan’s notetaking, when other reporters recorded David Kelly as saying very similar things. “The report is selective, grossly one-sided and a serious threat to the future of investigative journalism. “We understand the BBC governors are meeting to decide their response to Lord Hutton and we call on them to stand firm, defend their reporter and the essential truth of their story.” Earlier today the NUJ warned that the BBC could face an industrial dispute if it sacked or disciplined Andrew Gilligan. Jeremy Dear said the NUJ would take "whatever action is necessary” to defend its member. The union is representing Andrew Gilligan in the Hutton report process.