Tuesday, 18 October 2011

BAFTA nomination for “biased, misleading” Pan Am 103 documentary

[This is the headline over a news item published today on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm.  It reads as follows:]

A documentary broadcast on the anniversary of the return of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi to Libya entitled: “The Lockerbie Bomber - Sent Home to Die” has been nominated for a BAFTA award in Scotland.

The film, produced by Donald John MacDonald and David Cowan, has been nominated in the current affairs category.

At the time of its broadcast MSP Christine Grahame, convener of the Justice Committee and Dr Jim Swire wrote to STV warning them that the film repeated unfounded allegations against Air Malta, implicated in the discredited Crown case.

 In 1993 the airline won an out of court settlement against Granada TV who also claimed a bag containing a bomb had been transported, unaccompanied, on one of their flights.

“I was extremely disappointed when I saw the STV documentary and the one-sided and biased manner in which they recounted the events surrounding the atrocity," she said.

"There remains very serious doubts over the safety of the conviction, but the STV film apparently chose to focus on the controversial and highly disputed claims of the senior investigators. There were a number of misleading statements made in the film, but I think the most worrying from STV's perspective will be the unfounded allegation that the case alleged to have carried the bomb, was transported, unaccompanied, on an Air Malta flight.”

Grahame added that Air Malta sued Granada TV for making “the same unfounded allegation”, highlighting that the airline was able to prove that all 55 bags that were loaded onto the flight to Frankfurt were ascribed to passengers.

Granada TV settled the claims out of court and paid costs to Air Malta. Following the STV broadcast Air Malta indicated they were considering taking similar legal action against STV.

Dr Jim Swire also wrote to STV warning, inviting the corporation to review a transcript of the Zeist trial.

"Had I been aware of what you proposed to air, I would of course have warned you,” he wrote.

“Perhaps it would be best to broadcast a correction to your viewers in the circumstances, but you may wish to 'legal' that." 

[Further blog posts about this documentary can be found here, here and here.]

1 comment:


    Officials said Clinton would raise the case of the Lockerbie bombing with Libyan officials. Last month, Scotland asked Libya's new authorities to help track down those responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town.

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL: www.lockerbie.ch