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BBC statement to SVT regarding 2005 Niger reports

The following is the full statement issued to Sveriges Television (SVT) by the BBC in response to questions about the latter's reporting on the 2005 food crisis in Africa.

BBC News refuted the TV2 allegations unequivocally and we absolutely stand by the validity and professionalism of Hilary Andersson’s reports.

The BBC reported the events in Niger in 2005 as faithfully and precisely as we saw them. Hilary Andersson, a journalist who is praised across the media industry for her work, led much of that reporting.

As the BBC’s Africa correspondent she was a permanent presence in the area for over three years and her reports from Darfur in 2004 were duly acclaimed when the BBC won the coveted RTS award for its coverage from the region.

Hilary approached the story of what was happening in Niger with the same diligence and professionalism she has always shown in her work.

Reports of crisis in Niger were circulating in the British and international media weeks prior to Hilary’s arrival in the country, so it would have been plain wrong of us not to have examined the story.

Significantly, the BBC was not urged by the UN to visit Niger at this time. The BBC’s decision to cover the developments in Niger was taken on the ground and after Hilary and her team had witnessed for themselves the ongoing situation – a situation that clearly justified wider exposure.

Hilary and her team spoke to locals in eastern Niger whose crops had been wiped out by the locusts.

Importantly, the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission of December 2004 documents that 26% of crops in affected parts of Niger were wiped out by locusts.

The BBC filmed many dead cows, including a huge pile in a village east of Maradi in eastern Niger. Hilary and her team also witnessed people eating the rotten meat of their dead cattle.

The BBC included the sequence re eating leaves after the team had questioned those involved on whether it was “normal behaviour” and been told that it was not.

The BBC will continue to strive to earn the trust of all its audience and this, we believe, will be best achieved by continuing to deploy remarkably talented reporters like Hilary Andersson to cover news wherever and whenever it’s breaking with accuracy and impartiality.

H&M

H&M mulls production in South America and Africa

Swedish fashion giant H&M is considering starting production in South America and Africa, chief executive Karl-Johan Persson told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday.

H&M mulls production in South America and Africa

“When that part of the world is growing, which it is, it becomes even more interesting to look at production in South America or Central America. So, we are exploring that opportunity … We’re looking at (Africa) as well,” he said.

He added that the company is particularly looking into countries such as Mexico and Brazil.

His comments come almost one month after the collapse of a nine-storey garment factory complex in a suburb of Dhaka caved in and buried thousands of workers, killing over 1,200 people.

Persson, who last week called for a higher minimum wage in Bangladesh, had no suppliers in the building.

H&M announced on May 13th that it would sign an agreement drafted by global unions to improve safety in the Bangladeshi textile factories it uses.

The Swedish company plans to open its first store in Chile in 2013. Persson added that the company’s online launch in the US is scheduled for August this year.

AFP/The Local/og

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