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December 06, 2004

BBC hoaxed

Bbc_1BBC TV and Radio fell victim to a hoaxer last week. A man who said his name was Jude Finisterra and claimed to be a spokesman for Dow Chemical went on the air at the Beeb and said Dow was taking full responsibility for the 1984 Bhopal disaster, and had set up a $12 billion fund to compensate  victim's families and survivors. Here's how the BBC described the Bhopal incident, "Thousands were killed instantly on December 3, 1984 when the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal released 40 tonnes of lethal methyl isocyanate gas into the air, in one of the world's worst environmental disasters."

The BBC has since apologized on air for getting taken and also published a "Note" on its website. The BBC publishes both Notes and corrections. Notes are for things of a more serious matter or that require more clarification. This Note quotes BBC World saying it was the victim of "an elaborate deception" that led to the phony interview. Yes Men, the group behind this and other hoaxes, has published their own account of how it was pulled off. It seems their "elaborate" hoax consisted of them responding to an email and sending someone in a suit to a television studio...

Here's the BBC World apology:

This morning at 9am and 10am (GMT) BBC World ran an interview with someone purporting to be from the Dow chemical company about Bhopal.
This interview was inaccurate, part of an elaborate deception.
The person did not represent the company and we want to make it clear that the information he gave was entirely inaccurate.

And here's the BBC Radio apology:

Earlier this morning, our news bulletin here (on Radio 2/4/5 Live) carried an extract from an interview with someone purporting to be from the Dow chemical company about the disaster twenty years ago at Bhopal in India.
It is now clear that the person did not, in fact, represent the Dow company and we want to make clear that the information he gave was entirely inaccurate. 

December 06, 2004 at 10:58 AM | Permalink