BBC under pressure over Diana interview after princes launch scathing attack

BBC under pressure over Diana interview after princes launch scathing attack
A man walks outside the BBC headquarters in Portland Place, London (File/AFP).
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Updated 21 May 2021

BBC under pressure over Diana interview after princes launch scathing attack

BBC under pressure over Diana interview after princes launch scathing attack
  • The British government to examine how the BBC was run after inquiry into how the broadcaster got the1995 interview with Princess Diana.
  • Britain’s justice minister Robert Buckland warned that “doing nothing” about the governance of the BBC was not an option.

LONDON: The British government vowed on Friday to examine how the BBC was run after a damning inquiry into how the broadcaster got its bombshell 1995 interview with Princess Diana and unprecedented criticism from her son Prince William.

An independent investigation concluded on Thursday that journalist Martin Bashir had lied and used deceit to persuade Diana to agree to the interview in which she disclosed intimate details of her failed marriage to heir to the throne Prince Charles.

It also lambasted the BBC for its “woefully ineffective” investigation into Bashir’s actions the following year and for covering up his wrongdoing. Bashir tricked Diana’s brother into thinking her staff were spying on her, and could not be trusted.

In a scathing statement, Diana’s eldest son William, now 38, called the way the interview was secured “deceitful.”
“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.”

His younger brother Prince Harry said the interview was part of a series of unethical practices that ultimately cost his mother her life.
“Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed,” he said.

Diana died aged 36 in a Paris car crash in 1997 having become an effective outcast from the royal family, who she suspected of trying to undermine her as her relationship with Charles, William’s father, collapsed.

The BBC has apologized for its failings, but ministers, newspapers, critics and some supporters said the episode raised questions for the publicly-funded broadcaster.

DOING NOTHING NOT AN OPTION

Britain’s justice minister Robert Buckland warned that “doing nothing” about the governance of the BBC was not an option in light of the inquiry by former UK Supreme Court judge John Dyson.

“We will now reflect on Lord Dyson’s thorough report and consider whether further governance reforms at the BBC are needed in the mid-term Charter review,” media minister Oliver Dowden said on Twitter.

A review of the BBC’s royal charter, which sets the 98-year-old broadcaster’s mission, is due in 2022 before it needs to be renewed in 2027.

Some in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, including the prime minister himself, have voiced skepticism about its funding model — a license fee levied on all households with a TV — while many accuse it of being politically biased.

“There’s got to be a serious governance structural change inside the BBC,” former BBC chairman Michael Grade told BBC radio.
Some newspapers were damning in their assessment of the report, likening the BBC’s failures to a phone-hacking scandal involving tabloid reporters a decade ago.

“Ten years ago, when the phone-hacking scandal closed the News of the World, BBC journalists were among the loudest of those baying for blood and desperate to see The Sun engulfed too,” The Sun newspaper, the twin tabloid of Rupert Murdoch’s defunct News of the World, wrote in its editorial.
“Their stinking hypocrisy is not lost on us.”

However, some critics of print media said the issue was merely being used as revenge.

Meanwhile, London police said officers would assess the contents of Dyson’s report to see if there was any significant new evidence having previously ruled out a criminal investigation.


Lebanese media outlet Sawt Beirut International to stream Lebanese Basketball Championship

SBI is a Lebanese e-platform that provides objective and professional real-time news. (SBI)
SBI is a Lebanese e-platform that provides objective and professional real-time news. (SBI)
Updated 51 min 24 sec ago

Lebanese media outlet Sawt Beirut International to stream Lebanese Basketball Championship

SBI is a Lebanese e-platform that provides objective and professional real-time news. (SBI)
  • Sawt Beirut International acquires live streaming rights for the next 3 years for $468,000
  • ‘Primary agenda behind this step is to support sports in Lebanon,’ CEO Jerry Maher says 

LONDON: Sawt Beirut International on Tuesday won the live streaming rights to broadcast the Lebanese Basketball Championship for the next three seasons. 

The live streaming rights were acquired by the platform for $468,000. 

“The primary agenda behind this step is to support sports in Lebanon, support clubs and athletes, and provide the service of watching matches on SBI’s social media platforms,” Jerry Maher, CEO chairman at SBI, told Arab News.

“The streaming service will be available to both Lebanese and Arab audiences and those residing outside of Lebanon. The service will also be of particular interest to those who prefer social media over television.”

Maher said the project could not have been achieved without the support of businessman Bahaa Hariri, who is the eldest son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. 

“Supporting the Lebanese people in light of the economic crisis is the fundamental goal behind this step,” Maher said.

SBI is a Lebanese e-platform that provides objective and professional real-time news that covers political, economic, and security developments in Lebanon and around the world.


Google’s browser cookies plan anti-competitive, advertisers tell EU

Google said a year ago that it would ban some cookies in its Chrome browser to increase user privacy. (File/Google)
Google said a year ago that it would ban some cookies in its Chrome browser to increase user privacy. (File/Google)
Updated 28 September 2021

Google’s browser cookies plan anti-competitive, advertisers tell EU

Google said a year ago that it would ban some cookies in its Chrome browser to increase user privacy. (File/Google)
  • Google’s plan to block a popular web tracking tool called “cookies” is anti-competitive, said a group of advertisers, publishers and tech companies

BRUSSELS: Google’s plan to block a popular web tracking tool called “cookies” is anti-competitive, a group of advertisers, publishers and tech companies said in a complaint to EU antitrust regulators.
The grievance could boost the European Commission’s investigation opened in June into Alphabet unit Google’s Privacy Sandbox which the company said could allow businesses to target clusters of consumers without identifying individuals.
Google said a year ago that it would ban some cookies in its Chrome browser to increase user privacy and offer the Privacy Sandbox as an alternative.
The Movement for an Open Web (MOW) said the proposal would give Google the power to decide what data can be shared on the web and with whom.
“Google says they’re strengthening ‘privacy’ for end users but they’re not, what they’re really proposing is a creepy data mining party,” MOW lawyer Tim Cowen said in a statement.
The Commission confirmed receipt of the complaint, saying it would assess it under the standard procedures. In June, it kicked off an investigation into Google’s online display advertising technology services.
Google has offered to settle the case in a bid to avoid a possible fine and a disruptive prolonged probe, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.
Google declined to comment on the MOW complaint and referred to its previous statement released when it offered concessions to the UK competition watchdog, which described the Privacy Sandbox as an open initiative to provide strong privacy for users while also supporting publishers.
The US Justice Department is also examining the issue, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
The group’s complaint to the UK regulator prompted its investigation which subsequently led Google to offer concessions.


Microsoft CEO says failed TikTok deal ‘strangest thing I’ve worked on’

Microsoft in August 2020 began talks on the proposed acquisition but the deal collapsed by September. (File/AFP)
Microsoft in August 2020 began talks on the proposed acquisition but the deal collapsed by September. (File/AFP)
Updated 28 September 2021

Microsoft CEO says failed TikTok deal ‘strangest thing I’ve worked on’

Microsoft in August 2020 began talks on the proposed acquisition but the deal collapsed by September. (File/AFP)
  • Microsoft's near-acquisition of social media app TikTok last year was the “strangest thing I’ve ever worked on,” Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said

LONDON: Microsoft Corp’s near-acquisition of social media app TikTok last year was the “strangest thing I’ve ever worked on,” Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said on Monday.
TikTok had been ordered by then-US President Donald Trump to separate its US version from Chinese parent ByteDance because of national security concerns about the collection of US users’ data. Microsoft in August 2020 began talks on the proposed acquisition but the deal collapsed by September.
Trump’s divestment push ended by the time he left office in January and no potential suitor ending up acquiring TikTok.
Speaking at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California, Nadella said he was looking forward to bringing Microsoft’s security, child safety and cloud expertise to TikTok.
“It’s unbelievable,” Nadella said of the experience during an on-stage interview. “I learned so many things about so much and so many people. First of all, TikTok came to us. We didn’t go to TikTok.”
“TikTok was caught in between a lot of things happening across two capitals,” Nadella continued. “President Trump had a particular point of view of what he was trying to get done there, and then it just dropped off. The [US government] had a particular set of requirements and then it just disappeared.”
Nadella said what attracted ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming to Microsoft was the US company’s services related to content moderation and child safety, developed through products included in Xbox video gaming tools and on business social network LinkedIn.
ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nadella said he has no idea whether the US is still pushing for a deal under President Joe Biden. The Biden administration has said it is reviewing the national security concerns.
“At this point, I’m happy with what I have,” Nadella said.
He also expressed support for greater government regulation of cryptocurrency rules, which could stifle ransomware attacks since the ransoms often flow through opaque systems.


UK financial watchdog warns social media over "dodgy" ads that fuel fraud

The tech firms have said they are investing in fraud prevention and collaborating with the government and regulators. (File/Reuters)
The tech firms have said they are investing in fraud prevention and collaborating with the government and regulators. (File/Reuters)
Updated 28 September 2021

UK financial watchdog warns social media over "dodgy" ads that fuel fraud

The tech firms have said they are investing in fraud prevention and collaborating with the government and regulators. (File/Reuters)
  • Social media firms must do more to stop advertising "dodgy financial promotions," says Britain's Financial Conduct Authority

LONDON: Social media firms must do more to stop advertising "dodgy financial promotions" that fuel a surge in fraud or face action, Britain's Financial Conduct Authority said on Tuesday.
"We are putting them on notice that we expect them to be involved in this process of protecting the community," the FCA's head of enforcement Mark Steward told the watchdog's annual meeting.
He gave no specific examples of what he described as the adverts "feeding social media with dodgy financial promotions", but financial fraud has rocketed, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, as more consumers shop online and try digital banking and investing.
Google has prohibited investment ads that are not FCA-authorised - including for gold and cryptocurrencies - since Sept. 6 this year.
Steward said the FCA was pleased by the Google action.
"We can see it having an impact already in curtailing the increase in suspicious financial promotions on Google searches," he said.
"We are talking to all social media firms about this and it's important that all of them change their processes and procedures otherwise we will have to take action," Steward added.
The tech firms have said they are investing in fraud prevention and collaborating with the government and regulators.


Advocacy group calls on EU states to provide safe passage for Afghan journalists

Advocacy group calls on EU states to provide safe passage for Afghan journalists
Updated 28 September 2021

Advocacy group calls on EU states to provide safe passage for Afghan journalists

Advocacy group calls on EU states to provide safe passage for Afghan journalists
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists has been voicing concerns about the safety of Afghan journalists, reporters and media workers

LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday called on EU states to provide safe passage for fleeing Afghan journalists and commit to helping them resettle in the EU.

Tom Gibson, the CPJ’s EU representative, highlighted that “journalists fleeing Afghanistan have received far too little support from governments around the world and their safe passage must now become a political priority.

“EU member states must make clear commitments to Afghan journalists fleeing persecution, including concrete and collaborative strategies for their evacuation and resettlement. The EU has a duty not to turn the other way,” he added.

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, the CPJ has been voicing concerns about the safety of Afghan journalists, reporters and media workers.

Recently, Afghan journalist Mohammed Ali Ahmadi was shot and injured in the capital Kabul for his work as a media professional. Similarly, a week earlier, Taliban fighters raided the homes of two journalists and seized cars, desktop computers and a licensed weapon from one of the houses.

The Taliban also raided the homes of three Deutsche Welle journalists in Afghanistan the week before, shooting dead a relative of a DW reporter and severely injuring another while attempting to track him down.

While EU member states, the UK and the US vowed to provide a safe passage for Afghan journalists, they are yet to voice clear commitments to aid in the resettling of high-risk Afghans in their own countries.