The 'Too-British' BBC; Expressing Horror at Saddam's Death Was 'Culturally Insensitive', Says Diversity Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL REVOIR

IT was wrong for the BBC to express horror at the manner of Saddam Hussein's execution because doing so imposed western values on a different culture, its diversity tsar claimed yesterday.

Mary FitzPatrick suggested reporters should have shown more cultural sensitivity to the hanging, which saw the Iraqi tyrant taunted by his executioners before his death.

But her comments baffled many colleagues and were cited by critics as a further example of the pervasive culture of political correctness at the BBC.

Miss FitzPatrick, who is paid around [pounds sterling]90,000 a year to be editorial executive of diversity, said correspondents should not 'make value judgments' on other countries.

She told an internal BBC conference: 'We were putting our western values on how others handle death.' But world editor Jon Williams spoke at the same event and said it would have 'seemed strange' had veteran reporter John Simpson not expressed a sense of shock at pictures of the hanging.

Yesterday former BBC foreign correspondent and ex-MP Martin Bell said: 'I think she is completely out of line.

'I don't think it is the business of the BBC diversity tsar to interfere in editorial judgments.

'The BBC is a western news organisation - it is actually British.

People don't expect it to be anything else. I am glad I am not there any more. …