BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Newsnight featured a discussion about the fate of convicted Lockerbie bomber Al Megrahi. It was staged between the SNP's Christine Graham, who believes him to be innocent and wants him returned to Libya, and Frank Duggan, spokesman for the Lockerbie Victims, who emphatically does not.

Doing the interviewing was Kirsty Wark. She began by asking the MSP a series of questions, the first of which was wide-open and the second and third of which were essentially requests for factual information. So not a hard time.

Q1 (to Christine Graham): "You visited Al Megrahi regularly and most recently within the last two months. What makes you so sure he should be going home now?"

Q2 (to Christine Graham): "So ish his health deteriorated (sic) substantially since the last time you saw him?"

Q3 (to Christine Graham): "So just to be quite clear about this. He would bepared" (she meant 'be prepared') "to give up the appeal so therefore die a guilty man?"

When the time came to question Mr Duggan, however, the character of the interviewing changed. Both questions were closed ones, and the first was a heavilly-loaded one.

Q4 (to Frank Duggan): "So Frank Duggan, do you have any compassion for this convicted killer who is dying of cancer?"

Q5 (to Frank Duggan): "So tell me then, the fact that the UN observer at the time at the trial Hans Kochler believes that he should be allowed to go home, that has no sway with you?"

When Kirsty Wark turned back to Christine Graham she called her 'Christine' - a telling lapse into first-name terms from a presenter far too close to political power in Scotland.

Only her final question gave Mr Duggan the luxury of an open question...

Q6 (to Frank Duggan): "If Al Magrahi goes home what do you think will be the impact on the families?"

...but as "we're running out of time here", he was forcefully stopped in his tracks from giving an open answer! (So why ask the damn question in the first place then Kirsty?)

Kirsteen Ann Wark is a rubbish interviewer and I think I can guess where her sympathies lie on this issue - and I doubt I'm the only one.

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