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Archbishop complains about BBC reporters' behaviour

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham in the UK has made an official complaint about the behaviour of BBC TV reporters involved in making an undercover program about old child abuse cases in Birmingham.

He claims that during the past nine months, several priests in the diocese have been approached by BBC reporters in 'unacceptable' ways. One reporter for the program Kenyon Confronts gained access to an elderly priest in a retirement home by claiming to be a friend.

The BBC has not yet responded to the Archbishop's letter, though his complaint was itself the subject of a news story yesterday.

At a media conference he called to discuss his grievance, the Archbishop stressed that he does not object to the Church being criticised, but the style and approach of the proposed program is unacceptable. He was referring part to its "unacceptable" scheduling at the time of the Pope's Silver Jubilee and Mother Teresa's Beatification.

Archbishop Nichols pointed out that the BBC's flagship current affairs program Panorama is screening a documentary about Mother Teresa called Sex and the Holy City, and a satirical cartoon called Popetown is scheduled in the near future.

"These are offensive initiatives," he said. "The Catholic community is fed up seeing a public service broadcaster using the licence fee to pay unscrupulous reporters trying to re-circulated old news and to broadcast programs that are biased and hostile. Enough is enough."

Independent Catholic News

Text: statement by Archbishop Nichols on BBC programme (Independent Catholic News)
BBC accused of anti-Catholic bias (BBC)
BBC accused of 'hostile' attitude to Catholics (The Guardian)
Archdiocese of Birmingham
BBC | Kenyon Confronts | Panorama | Popetown
UK Catholics angry over BBC's pogoing Pope (25/3/03)

30 Sep 2003