As the BBC Trust found it ‘more likely than not’ that footage of Indian children making Primark tops was staged, the high street retailer – aided by retained agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson - issued a strongly-worded statement commenting that ‘millions of people have been deceived by Panorama’.
The statement goes on: ‘Viewers who watched the programme, shoppers who were then fed the lie, sourcing experts who believed the lie, teachers and pupils who viewed the programme in lessons, have all been badly let down.’
But BBC head of press and media Paul Mylrea declined to respond to Primark’s statement, explaining that the corporation will only respond to the BBC Trust’s findings.
‘Our view is we’ve responded to the BBC Trust’s ruling. We won’t respond to anything else because we’ve responded to the ruling.’
He also declined to comment on whether this will hit the BBC’s reputation for integrity. ‘That’s your view,’ said Mylrea.
Primark’s response to the BBC Trust’s findings has been packaged up on a microsite, which includes the statement along with a video explaining Primark’s case and a timeline of events.
Primark’s long-standing retained agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson was issuing links to this microsite to the media yesterday.
Yesterday, Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy predicted that the BBC would dispute Primark’s ‘scathing’ press release.
However, the BBC has, as yet, only issued a response to the ruling itself. Its statement read: ‘The BBC accepts the Trust ruling that there were serious breaches in its editorial procedures in the preparation of the Panorama programme Primark – On The Rack.’
The statement added that the BBC has ‘already made significant progress in tightening its procedures’ and ‘will ensure that all staff involved in the making of the programme – and more generally staff involved in investigative reporting – understand their responsibilities when it comes to authenticating evidence’.