Documentary-maker behind BBC Panorama on antisemitism is suing Labour
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Documentary-maker behind BBC Panorama on antisemitism is suing Labour

John Ware is taking legal action after the party strongly rejected the allegations made in the film

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

John Ware interviewing former Labour staffers on Panorama. (Credit: BBC Panorama - Is Labour Anti-Semitic?)
John Ware interviewing former Labour staffers on Panorama. (Credit: BBC Panorama - Is Labour Anti-Semitic?)

The documentary-maker behind the BBC’s Panorama on Labour antisemitism is suing the Party for libel.

John Ware is taking legal action after the party strongly rejected the allegations made in the film, submitting a 28-page complaint to the broadcaster.  On Monday, Ofcom said the show had been “duly impartial”, dismissing objections.

During the documentary Ware spoke to seven former Labour officials from the Party’s Complaints and Disputes department, plus another former staffer.

It alleged top party figures interfered with investigations into antisemitism, singling out the Labour leader’s chief communications adviser Seumas Milne and current general secretary Jennie Formby.

It was confirmed to Jewish News, that libel claims against the Labour Party and various of its outriders have been made by Ware and several whistle-blowers.

Their solicitor Mark Lewis of Patron Law said that “it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage”.

In wake of the film, a Labour spokesman said the party had only been asked by Ware about the allegations at the end of June and provided 50 pages of answers to his questions.

Labour said Ware, who worked for The Sun more than forty years ago, has previously expressed “strong opposition” to Corbyn and his politics.

On the eve of transmission, the party hit back against the BBC, claiming that the programme was “unlikely to meet the BBC’s obligations of fairness, balance and political impartiality,” and that it “shows clear signs of political interference” and “attempts at undue influence in the current [Equality and Human Rights Council] EHRC investigations into our disciplinary and complaints procedures”.

In July 2019, Corbyn claimed there “were many, many inaccuracies in the programme” and that it “adopted a pre-determined position on its own website before it was broadcast.”

This week, Ofcom confirmed that it had received 28 objections, and that it had “assessed complaints from viewers who felt that this programme was factually inaccurate and biased.

“In our view, the programme was duly impartial. As well as highly critical personal testimonies, it included the Labour Party’s response prominently throughout, including in an interview with the Shadow Communities Secretary.”

 

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