[access-uk] bbc reporter wins compensation

  • From: "Richard Godfrey-McKay" <richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 08:22:33 +0100

May be off topic, but thought this of sufficient interest to post (please
forgive me if I've broken guidelines):
From today's Private Eye:
  Much mortification at the "diversity aware" BBC where hundreds of staff
  are to be sent on disability awareness courses after a senior editor
  refused to let a blind reporter appear on BBC1's flagship 10 pm news.
  Senior managers have tried to hush up the story of how experienced
  political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue was paid a sum believed to be in
  5 figures to call off an employment tribunal hearing this summer which
  would have exposed the hollowness of the Beeb's much vaunted disability
  On Friday 2 August 2007, the day news of last year's foot-and-mouth
  outbreak broke, O'Donoghue, who has worked as a senior BBC reporter on
  national radio and TV for more than 15 years, was duty political
  correspondent on the late shift at Westminster. In the course of the
  evening he phoned contacts who told him that prime minister Gordon Brown
  was cutting short his holiday to deal with the crisis and had already
  chaired a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee by
  It was decided to make O'Donoghue's story the lead item on the 10 pm
  bulletin. The only problem was that the programme's deputy editor,
  Daniel Pearl, didn't want O'Donoghue, who is obviously blind, to deliver
  it, saying he wanted to see a proper political correspondent on screen.
  With barely half an hour to go before the programme began, O'Donoghue's
  colleague Jo Coburn, who was on a day off and watching TV at home in her
  pyjamas, was summoned to Westminster to relay O'Donoghue's story to the
  O'Donoghue is a very experienced broadcaster who, colleagues say, has
  come across similar discrimination before but let it pass. On this
  occasion he complained. Senior managers, including head of TV news Peter
  Horrocks, made sympathetic noises but did nothing. Only after the
  National Union of Journalists helped O'Donoghue submit a complaint to an
  employment tribunal, claimed the Beeb had breached the Disability
  Discrimination Act, did senior managers come out of their state of
  O'Donoghue has been paid thousands of pounds to keep schtum, while
  thousands more will be spent training hacks and managers to be more
  "aware" of disability issues.
  And Daniel Pearl, the editor who didn't want to see a blind man on TV?
  He's tipped to become the next editor of Newsnight. Trebles all round!


Richard Godfrey-McKay


Tel: (01738) 445 880


Mobile: 07791-452593


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