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Dow fake hoaxes BBC on Bhopal
S. Rajagopalan
Washington, December 3

WITHIN HOURS of BBC quoting a self-styled spokesperson of Dow Chemical on the firm's $ 12 billion relief package for Bhopal gas victims, the Michigan-based company let it be known it was all a hoax.

The spokesperson - identified by BBC as Jude Finisterra - is not a Dow employee at all. A little earlier in the day, BBC World had aired an interview with Finisterra, who grandly announced that the US giant was assuming full responsibility for Bhopal and readying a $ 12 billion compensation package.

Dow reacted.. It said it did not have any spokesman or employee by that name. BBC quickly retracted, saying: "This information was inaccurate, part of an elaborate deception."

The interview with the purported spokesman had taken place in Paris and it was broadcast on the 20th anniversary of the disaster, a day when thousands of survivors and their well-wishers had gathered for a solemn event in Bhopal.

"We apologise to Dow and to anyone who watched the interview who may have been misled by it. Of course, the BBC is investigating how the deception happened," the network said in a statement.

In the US, activists of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) were intrigued for a while as the "incredible news" was aired just when batches of Indian students were gearing up for their campaign to target Dow on university campuses.


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