Dear Ms Clarke
In answer to your query I am requesting extra time to appeal as I am currently waiting for vital information in the form of a legal opinion which I wish to include in my submission.
As you will be aware from my stage 1a and stage 1b complaints, one of my contentions is that in publishing images of a captive in the 2011 Libya conflict Dr Saleyha Ahsan has breached provisions of the Geneva Convention.
In addition to the observations of former BBC legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg which are referred to in my complaints, former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger has stated:
“It is forbidden to expose prisoners of war to public curiosity… and the essential thing is to make clear to all parties that PoWs should not be exposed in any form”
I am bringing to the attention of the Trust matters of the utmost gravity relating to a prominent BBC employee. I therefore hope that the Trust will accept my request for a further 15 working days in which to submit my appeal. I understand that it is open to me to initiate legal action against Dr Ahsan irrespective of the Trust’s decision.
I note that in the last day or so the images in question have been removed from Dr Ahsan’s Facebook account. (See for example here and here). Please make a record of the screengrabs that are collected here, which demonstrate that all the images I refer to were published on Dr Ahsan’s Facebook account in April this year (links to the locations of the original posts are below each). Should you require them, I can provide screengrabs and downloads of the original images of the captive which demonstrate that his face was visible in the posts made by Dr Ahsan.
To: Robert Stuart
Subject: RE: BBC Complaints – CAS-3414060-Y3SF9B
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2015 09:23:15 +0000
Dear Mr Stuart
Thank you for your email.
We note your request for an additional 15 working days to submit your appeal to the Trust. The Editorial Complaints Procedure (http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/regulatory_framework/protocols/2014/complaints_fr_work_ed_complaints.pdf) sets out that exceptionally, the Trust may decide to consider a complaint submitted after 20 working days of the date of receipt of the BBC Executive’s final response at Stage 1b or 2, if it decides there was a good reason for the delay. We would therefore be grateful if you could briefly set out your reasons for requesting extra time to appeal.
180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ
From: Robert Stuart
Sent: 03 September 2015 16:52
To: Trust Editorial
Subject: FW: BBC Complaints – CAS-3414060-Y3SF9B
I intend to submit an appeal to the Trust as directed in BBC Complaints’ Stage 1b decision of 27 August (below).
I would be most grateful if the Trust would consider extending the deadline for response from Thursday 24 September (20 working days) to Thursday 15 October (35 working days).
Please note I have also today contacted BBC Complaints via its webform to seek clarification as to why I have not been offered the option of pursuing my complaint with the Editorial Complaints Unit or with the “BBC division responsible for the content” I am complaining about, in line with section 4 of the BBC’s Editorial complaints and appeals procedures.
To: Robert Stuart
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:07:09 +0100
Subject: BBC Complaints – CAS-3414060-Y3SF9B
Dear Mr Stuart
Thank you for taking the time to contact us again and please accept our apologies for the delay in responding. We have noted your points and are sorry to learn you were not satisfied with our earlier response.
Our previous reply set out why we believe Dr Ahsan was a suitable presenter for The Truth About Fat and we have nothing to add to that response. [this response is copied here, below my subsequent appeal]
With regard to the additional point you raise about the publication of photographs on Facebook – we note that no criminal charges have been brought against Dr Ahsan in relation to this, and no judgments issued against her. Any such proceedings would of course be taken into account when considering a presenter’s suitability for a role. We do not believe that Dr Ahsan’s role as a presenter breaks any of our guidelines on Impartiality or Conflicts of Interest and there are no grounds to exclude her from presenting our programmes.
Your concerns relating to Panorama: Saving Syria’s Children have previously been considered by the BBC Trust and will not be revisited here.
We therefore do not believe that your further complaint has raised a significant issue of general importance that might justify further investigation. We will not correspond further in response to additional points, or further comments or questions, made about this issue or our responses to it.
If you are dissatisfied with this decision you can appeal to the BBC Trust, the body which represents licence fee payers. The Trust has asked that we should explain to complainants that the BBC’s Royal Charter draws a clear distinction between the role of the Trust – which determines the overall scope of the BBC’s services and sets its standards – and that of the BBC Executive – which runs the Corporation and decides what to broadcast and publish.
The Trust does not entertain every appeal submitted to it. It will normally hear appeals about the Executive’s decisions only if a complainant can show that they involved a potential breach of the BBC’s published standards, or that an operational decision has raised significant issues of general importance. The Trust is the final arbiter of which appeals it should consider. For the full information about the BBC Trust’s appeals procedures please visit:
If you wish to submit an appeal you must write within 20 working days of receiving this reply, explaining why you wish to appeal. You can contact the BBC Trust at 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ, or by emailing email@example.com including reference number CAS-3414060-Y3SF9B.
NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform at the BBC Complaints website http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints quoting any case number we provided.