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BBC Primark ruling "unjust and flawed"

Jun 21

Written by:
21/06/2011 14:58  RssIcon

Campaigners respond to BBC's apology

In a decision which has sent some of the mainstream UK press into a frenzy of ethical-consumer bashing, the BBC Trust ruled on June 16th that a 45 second clip from a 2008 Panorama investigation into Primark in India 'might not have been genuine'.  Ignoring the fact that the other 29 minutes 15 seconds were uncontested, ignoring the mountains of evidence of workers' rights abuses at Primark factories from Cambodia to Manchester, and ignoring the Trust's finding that programme makers did find evidence that child labour was being used, the company's supporters are using this ruling as an excuse to undermine years of carefully-gathered evidence of malpractice.

War on Want quotes Dan McDougall, the journalist who made the film, as saying: “I have rarely seen a finding so unjust in outcome, flawed in process, and deeply damaging to independent investigative journalism."  At Ethical Consumer, we would agree with War on Want's disappointment "at the aggressive pursuit of the BBC by Primark’s lawyers, and believes the company’s resources would be better spent improving workers’ rights in its supply chain." 

"Why does the ethical consumer lobby always, without fail, aim its fury at shops patronised by poor people?", asks the Daily Telegraph. The statement is unfounded. Opposing child labour is not the same as saying that only rich people in the UK should be able to afford new clothes.  Some of the Best Buy companies in our High Street clothing report (Monsoon and M&S) are able to offer competitively priced clothing whilst making a much better fist of ensuring the workers at the bottom of the heap are not completely forgotten.

We are currently researching a new special report on clothing due for publication in August.  Let us know what you think by commenting on our Forums.

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