BBC R4’s ‘Moral Maze’: the on-air correction and the one that wasn’t made

The March 23rd edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Moral Maze’ was entitled “Brussels Bombing” and the topic under discussion the day after the terror attacks in Belgium was liberty versus security.Moral Maze 23 3

One of the ‘witnesses’ – Mike Harris – claimed that even during World War Two, the British people did not have to carry identity cards.  

“During the Second World War, Winston Churchill did not allow ID cards in this country ‘cos he said we will not water down our essential commitment to liberty.”

That statement is of course inaccurate (British citizens were required to carry identity cards from September 1939 until February 1952) and – in accordance with BBC editorial guidelines concerning factual errors – later on in the programme presenter Michael Buerk made sure to correct the misleading impression given to audiences by the broadcast of that claim.  

An additional ‘witness’ on the programme was Inayat Bunglawala who, interestingly, also appeared on a previous edition of Moral Maze just after the terror attacks in Paris last November. In among his predictable statements, at 30:50 Bunglawala came out with the following:

“I’m sure you would never…ahm…say that because Israel carries out acts of mass murder against Palestinians and is engaged in the theft of their land that we should somehow look for a problem of genocidal Judaism.” [emphasis added]

Remarkably, Michael Buerk did not find it necessary to correct the misleading impression given to listeners by the broadcast of that claim. 

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