From: Caspar Bowden []

Sent: 07 June 2000 14:05

To: Mark Damazer (E-mail)

Subject: Continuing lack of BBC TV coverage of RIP Bill


7th June 2000

Dear Mr.Damazer

since we spoke by telephone at the beginning of May, there was no coverage or interest by BBC TV for Commons Third Reading or Lords 2nd Reading.

Rory Cellan-Jones did a very good, but short piece, for BBC One O'clock News on 5th June, and there was also coverage by R4 World Tonight.

The bill is approaching the first day of its Lords Ctte stage on Monday, with every prospect of a ferocious reception from Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and cross-benchers - see I hope you may find time to look at our current briefing, also attached (which was sent by e-mail to Panorama, Newsnight, and other news and specialist correspondents).

There is vague interest from Newsnight alternating with continuing reports of editorial incomprehension, and I have three unreturned telephone calls to Panorama following initial interest from a researcher called Toby Sculthor.

In that time (one month) there have been sixty stories in other media on RIP (documented at including major pieces in last Sunday's Observer and the Los Angeles Times, a half-hour prime-time interview on LA's largest talk radio station, TV pieces by CNN and NBC, a Financial Times LEADER calling for the bill to be scrapped, an eleven minute package on Channel 4 News, and an open letter from the British Chambers of Commerce to the Home Secretary.

What would really rectify the quite inexplicable neglect of this story by FLAGSHIP BBC News and Current Affairs TELEVISION programmes would be for packages setting out the civil liberties, business and international contexts, together with an interview which would allow the main points of criticism to be put to a government Minister. Since the relevant junior Minister (Charles Clarke) has refused or declined interviews on two occasions (Today and C4 News) when he learned that I would be putting the opposing view, this will require some tenacity and forward planning if the government are not to be allowed an effective veto.

In any case, I would be grateful for a formal reply to these points and those raised in my original letter.


Caspar Bowden     Tel: +44(0)20 7354 2333

Director, Foundation for Information Policy Research

RIP Information Centre at: