Friday, December 30, 2011

#Panorama :Secret Service Pressed BBC To Censor Panorama - Papers

The head of the BBC personally intervened to censor a 1981 Panorama programme on Britain's intelligence agencies, official papers reveal.

Documents from the National Archives show the then director general, Sir Ian Trethowan, was put under pressure amid concern over the planned documentary.

The papers show Sir Ian told the press no-one from the government had seen the film or put pressure on the BBC.

The documents however reveal he in fact met the heads of MI5 and MI6.

Sir Ian also asked for a video cassette of the original 100-minute programme and showed it to Bernard Sheldon, then the legal adviser to MI5, who suggested a large number of cuts to be made.

The director general then went to the BBC's head of news and current affairs and asked him to reduce the programme by half, including making the cuts suggested by MI5.

"Mr Sheldon has in my judgement done a very good job with Sir Ian Trethowan," one document for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, marked "secret and personal", more