BBC editor ‘not guilty’ over naming sex victim

A rape victim “went into meltdown” when she heard her identity revealed on the BBC Asian Network, a court heard. The reporter knew she had a right to anonymity but wrongly assumed the name used in court was a pseudonym. The editor who approved the script was tried for breaching her anonymity but cleared by a judge for his “honest mistake”. But the case raises several interesting points for journalism students:

  • The editor, not the BBC, was charged
  • Pseudonyms are not used in court
  • The reporter had never covered a court case – and the editor didn’t know
  • The reporter was distressed by the error
  • No BBC editor had been charged before

Note also that the case was heard by a judge, sitting in a magistrates’ court.

Had the BBC itself been charged, the outcome might have been different. Or might not.

Read the BBC report here.