BBC duped by Bhopal hoax

“The BBC fell for a hoax report that Dow Chemical would compensate victims of the Bhopal disaster after visiting a website that led them to a ‘plausible spokesperson’ who appeared on camera, a BBC source has said.

In preparing reports for the anniversary of the disaster at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India on December 3, 1984, the BBC ‘wanted to assess Dow’s stance, comments, sentiments 20 years on,’ the source said.

A researcher visited a site which was ‘either a mirror image of the official website or somehow they’ve hacked in, we don’t know and I wouldn’t want to comment,’ said the source who asked not to be named.

In the media contact portion of the site, the BBC found the name of the ‘Dow spokesperson’ Jude Finisterra, who turned out to be from a group called the ‘Yes Men,’ which has a track record of making such hoaxes, the BBC source said.

‘Then we followed that up with calls to him, as you do [as a journalist]. We had him in. It was a two-way interview between the presenter here in London and he did his piece [on camera] in Paris,’ the source said.

The BBC did not know the hoaxer was going to announce the multi-billion dollar compensation fund until he was on camera, he said.

‘It was an incredible, fantastic thing to say. He was well versed in Bhopal and the kind of victim figures. He was plausible,’ the BBC source said.”

BBC duped by cruel Bhopal hoax. 04/12/2004. ABC News Online:






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