BBC Editor says he was advised to pull journalists from Libya by Foreign Office
On the eve of the fall of Sirte, the BBC’s World News Editor has revealed that the Foreign Office “strongly recommended” to broadcasters that they pull their journalists out of Libya prior to the start of NATO’s bombing campaign.
Speaking at yesterday evening’s Frontline Club event on the pressures of reporting conflict, Jon Williams said officials at the Foreign Office were concerned that they could not guarantee the safety of journalists on the ground.
Williams playfully described the advice as “very generous”, but said broadcasters told the Foreign Office that they would “accept responsibility” for having their journalists report from dangerous locations.
Williams also claimed there were “lots of hints from the British” that BBC Correspondent Jeremy Bowen’s interview with Colonel Gaddafi in February “really wasn’t very helpful”.
NATO officially took control of all aspects of the military campaign in Libya on 31 March although British, French and US airstrikes had begun on 19 March two days after UN Resolution 1973 had been passed.
The resolution called for a no fly zone and measures to protect the civilian population from Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.