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‘About Protecting the Institution, Not Individual’: BBC Staff ‘Guilty of Abuse’ Retained Jobs

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Earlier, the BBC had vowed a crackdown on staff misconduct after Jimmy Savile, the broadcaster’s “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It” host, was found to be a predatory sex offender after his death in 2011. As the sex abuse allegations against Savile appeared to have been dismissed during his life, the BBC was accused of covering up the abuse.

Years after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) vowed to implement a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding bullying and harassment, misconduct continues to plague the broadcaster, reported The Times.

Figures revealed by a Freedom of Information Act disclosure show that while the BBC upheld or partially upheld 33 of 154 reported cases of such misconduct over the past two years, only one person was sacked.

Some 105 complaints were dismissed and 16 were withdrawn, allowing dozens of staff to retain their jobs despite having been implicated in sexual abuse, intimidation and harassment.

The company’s executives fail to adequately protect complainants, claim sources cited by the outlet.

The attitude adopted by the BBC is currently “more about protecting the institution than the individual”, said a source who had reportedly been involved in such a case.

HENRY NICHOLLS

Pedestrians walk past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House in London, Britain January 29, 2020.

Since 2013, when the BBC found itself under fire over the scandal involving its disgraced host Jimmy Savile, found to be a predatory sex offender only after his death in 2011, 508 formal cases of bullying and harassment have been registered. Of these, 32 were complaints of sexual misconduct.

“Many of those accused are managers and the BBC are scared to dismiss them because they are worried about the negative publicity. Often those guilty leave quietly with a payoff, a wholly unacceptable way of cracking down on inappropriate behaviour,” said Paul Siegert, broadcasting organiser at the National Union of Journalists.

The broadcaster has dismissed criticism, insisting that “appropriate action” is taken in each of the abuse complaint cases.

Emphasising that the figures contained in the report fail to take into account BBC Studios, which churns out a significant portion of its TV content, the company was cited as saying:

“The BBC should be ambitious about resolving cases quickly, but they can be complex and need to be investigated with rigour and care.”

‘Serious Failings’ at BBC

Over the course of the past decade, the BBC has been repeatedly plagued by accusations of “institutionalised sexual abuse.”

The state broadcaster found itself in the crosshairs in 2012 and 2013, after a series of investigations, accusations and scandals related to sexual abuse committed by employees, and the reporting of allegations of abuse by others.

​TV personality Jimmy Savile, BBC’s “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It” host, was revealed to have engaged in sexual abuse of children, on occasion at BBC TV Centre, with suggestions that the misconduct was known about, and ignored, by higher-up executives.

Amid the scandal, other alleged victims came forward with allegations of abuse against other BBC celebrities, triggering Operation Yewtree by Metropolitan Police to probe sexual abuse allegations against Savile and others, and resulted in several prosecutions.

​Thus, TV and radio presenter Stuart Hall was convicted in 2013 and 2014 of sexual offences, while veteran children’s TV entertainer Rolf Harris was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault in 2014.

After a Respect at Work review in 2013, the BBC had pledged to implement a “zero tolerance” culture where “people feel able to raise concerns and have confidence that they will be dealt with appropriately”.



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Brexit: British Embassy launches survey on key issues affecting UK nationals in Spain | Brexit | International

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The British Embassy in Madrid has launched a survey aimed at finding out how UK nationals in Spain have been affected by key issues, in particular, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, a process commonly known as Brexit.

The poll is for Britons who are full-time residents in Spain (not those with second homes) and are covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, i.e. they were officially registered in the country before December 31, 2020, when the so-called Transition Period came to an end.

Questions in the survey address issues such as access to healthcare and the uptake of the TIE residency cards, which were introduced as a replacement for green residency cards (either the credit-card size or the A4 sheet version, officially known as the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión).

As we approach a year since the end of the Transition Period, we really want to hear from you about the key issues…

Posted by Brits in Spain on Friday, September 17, 2021

The aim of the poll is to gather vital information on the experience of UK nationals living in Spain that will help the British Embassy provide feedback to Spanish authorities. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete, and all answers are confidential.

Have you heard our Spanish news podcast ¿Qué? Each week we try to explain the curious, the under-reported and sometimes simply bizarre news stories that are often in the headlines in Spain.



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‘The challenge for us now is drought, not war’: livelihoods of millions of Afghans at risk | Global development

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The war in Afghanistan might be over but farmers in Kandahar’s Arghandab valley face a new enemy: drought.

It has hardly rained for two years, a drought so severe that some farmers are questioning how much longer they can live off the land.

Mohammed Rahim, 30, grew up working on a farm along with his father and grandfather in the Arghandab district of Afghanistan’s southern province. Famous for its fruit and vegetables, the area is known as the bread basket of Kandahar.

Like most in the valley, Rahim’s family relies solely on farming. “The fighting has just stopped. Peace has returned,” Rahim says. “But now we face another war: drought.

“Now we have to dig deep to pump water out of the land. It has been two years, there has been little rain and we have a drought here. I don’t know if our coming generations can rely on farming the way our ancestors used to do.”

Pir Mohammed, 60, has been a farmer for more than four decades. “Not long ago, there were water channels flowing into the farm and we were providing the remaining water to other farmers,” says Mohammed. “Before, the water was running after us, flowing everywhere – but now we are running after water.”

The water used to come free from the river but now the daily diesel cost for the water pump is at least 2,500 Afghani (£21).

“We don’t make any profit. We are in loss, rather. Instead, we are using our savings. But we don’t have any other option as we do it for survival,” says Mohammed. “However, the scarcity of water has affected the quality of crops as well.”

About 70% of Afghans live in rural areas and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of drought.

Last week, Rein Paulsen, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience, said severe drought was affecting 7.3 million people in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces.

He warned: “If agriculture collapses further, it will drive up malnutrition, increase displacement and worsen the humanitarian situation.”

Arghandab has been a favourite destination for farming because of the abundance of water and fertile lands. Neikh Mohammed, 40, left the Dand district of Kandahar to work in Arghandab in 2005. When he arrived he was amazed to see the greenery and pomegranate farms.

A dam affected by drought in Kandahar.
A dried up dam in Kandahar. A majority of Afghans are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of drought, as they live in rural areas. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

“It used to rain a lot here and we could not cross the river and come into our farms. We had a life with abundant water. But the past is another country now,” he says.

According to a report by the UN mission in Afghanistan, many local farmers were caught in the crossfire between the Taliban and the Afghan security forces. The Taliban carried out attacks from thick foliage on the farms, which provided a hiding place, ideal for an ambush.

“For the past 20 years, we did not have peace and could not work after dark in our farms. But now we can stay as long as we want without any fear,” says Neikh Mohammed. “Now the challenge is not just restoring peace but the drought and escalating cost of essential commodities.”

Farmers say they want support from international aid agencies and assistance from the new government headed by the Taliban to help them survive.

Pir Mohammed says: “The real challenge for us now is drought, not war. We need food, water, dams and infrastructure in our country. The world should invest in us and save us.”

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[Ticker] US to lift Covid travel-ban on EU tourists

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Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the UK will be let back into the US from “early November” onward, the White House said on Monday, ending an 18-month ban and prompting airline firms’ shares to climb. “This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans … safe,” a US spokesman said. The EU recently recommended increased restrictions on US visitors, amid anger at lack of US reciprocity.

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