Foreign Office elbow World Service to drop pirate report

A BBC World Service report by Mary Harper has been pulled after a request by the Foreign Office last Sunday. In the report Harper talked to Somali pirates holding the Sirius Star and its captain. The Guardian reports the FCO asked the service to pull the slot as “it claimed that after each broadcast the phonelines to the Sirius Star were blocked by callers – even though the number was not aired – and that it was hampering efforts by Saudi Arabia to end the hijack.”

“It may be that there was a good reason for the World Service decision but information from my members suggests otherwise,” [said NUJ World Service news and current affairs father of the chapel, Mike Workman]. “I cannot emphasise the seriousness of the situation [enough]. This is an issue that could severely damage the World Service’s reputation for independent journalism because it looks as if we have given in to government pressure for no good reason.” link

Although the BBC World Service agreed to pull the programme you can still read the text and listen to the interview with Sirius Star Captain Marek Nishky on the BBC News wesbite.