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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
BBC programme 'put lives at risk'
Holidays in the Axis of Evil
The journalists visted North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and Cuba
The BBC has been criticised by the media watchdog Ofcom for endangering the lives of two Libyans who appeared in a documentary series.

Ofcom upheld a complaint from tour guide Muhunnud Al-Mungoush who appeared on Holidays in the Axis of Evil, last year, without his consent.

They also upheld a complaint from singer Enes Senussi, whose song was used in the same programme.

The BBC was accused of putting the lives of the men "at risk".


Mr Al-Mungoush claimed that as a result of the programme he was interrogated, beaten up and lost his job.

Ofcom ruled that two journalists had "misled" Mr Al-Mungoush when they posed as tourists.

Mr Al-Mungoush said he agreed to be filmed for a holiday video as he showed them around, but said he would not have given consent if he had known it was to be used as footage for a BBC programme.

Co-operating with international media is forbidden in Libya.

Mr Al-Mungoush complained the programme made it appear he had co-operated with the corporation and that this had put him at risk.

Ofcom said the BBC had seemed to have shown little concern about the impact the film would have had on Mr Al-Mungoush, who had been "left behind with no knowledge, or protection from the consequences of the BBC's actions".

The watchdog also upheld his complaint that the BBC had infringed his privacy and added there was "no overriding public interest" in the footage to justify the intrusion.


In response, the BBC said the dangers they faced in the six countries branded as the "axis of evil" by US president George W Bush, meant they had to film covertly.

The corporation said they had taken "great care" in using Mr Al-Mungoush's contribution and had helped him "in any way they could" after hearing what, he claimed, subsequently happened to him.

The regulator also found that the programme-makers put the life of Libyan singer Mr Senussi at risk by including one of his songs, A Mountain of Regret, in the same programme.

A tour guide was shown playing the song in his car, saying it was written "by some Libyan who used to live here - he made it here because he regrets coming back from England".

The BBC said the singer/composer had not been identified in the programme and that they did not consider Mr Senussi had been put at risk because of their actions.

But Ofcom said, while the use of the song was not unfair, the interpretation delivered by the guide would have put Mr Senussi at risk if he returned to Libya. The singer currently lives in Dubai.

Ofcom did not uphold a complaint of unwarranted infringement of privacy, as Mr Senussi acknowledged the song had been widely circulated.

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