I am writing to complain about BBC Sunday Morning Live’s factually incorrect statements on a 5th September programme entitled “Is it Right to Condemn Iran for Stoning?”
The principal reason for my complaint is statements made by Susanna Reid which were factually false and which gave the impression that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is not to be stoned and that stoning does not take place in Iran (or is rare). She said that no stonings have taken place since the 2002 moratorium; in fact, 17 stonings have occurred since this time. Indeed, Amnesty International stated very recently that eight men and three women are awaiting stoning at present and that since 2006 at least six people have been put to death in this way.
Ms Reid also said that Sakineh Ashtiani is facing execution for murder rather than adultery despite court documents proving that Sakineh was sentenced to death for adultery and was acquitted of murder.
All of this is clearly contrary to the BBC Charter, which states (6.1): “The BBC shall be independent in all matters concerning the content of its output, the times and manner in which this is supplied, and in the management of its affairs.”
This was compounded by the fact that the programme excluded me from the discussion, though I had been invited to join the debate via webcam; instead, the programme included only two supporters of the stoning and/or execution via webcam.
Since international protests have so far saved the life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, it is all the more vital that accurate information be provided to the public on her case.
Given that the programme has refused to supply corrections to their viewers, I ask that you look into this matter of clear media bias and misinformation.
I look forward to your response on this matter.
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731