BBC explain position over Chandlers’ release story delay

The BBC has explained its reasons for the delay in reporting the Chandler release story.

It has come to light that an injunction was in place for the media to stop them reporting on the release of the Chandlers’ until they were taken to a safe place away from Somalia, where they had been held hostage for over a year. Sky News had been running with the story of the release all morning, while the BBC News Channel ran with other stories. Viewers began to question why the BBC had not reported on the big story.


Jon Williams, BBC World News Editor has posted on his blog about the reasons behind the injunction and the BBC’s decision to honour it. “Lawyers for the family argued that speculation about their health, about any possible ransom and on the negotiations about their release might prolong their captivity. The injunction was designed to protect the safety of the Chandlers – and prevented us from referring even to its existence.”


He went on to say “While we’re not in the business of censoring the news, no story is worth a life – we accepted the argument of the family, their lawyers and the judge that to do otherwise would jeopardise the safety of Paul and Rachel Chandler. Some other news organisations did not – which is why, for some hours, during the Chandlers’ dangerous journey through Somalia to the safety of Kenya, the BBC stayed silent while pictures of the couple could be seen elsewhere.”


Williams added that there is no point of breaking the law just to get a scoop. “There is no public interest in breaking the law, simply to claim a scoop.”