Do you remember Arif Ansari? He used to be the BBC's North West political editor and appeared on local news programmes in our area over many years. I must say I always rated him as a decent reporter and a decent presenter. But he moved on and moved up in the world and became head of news for the BBC Asian Network. And now he's been charged under the Sexual Offences Act over a BBC Asian Network report which mistakenly identified a Rotherham child abuse victim. It wasn't his report but prosecutors have charged him personally with overall responsibility for it. The BBC believes that that was unfair and that the prosecutors ought to have brought the criminal action against the corporation as a whole. He intends to plead not guilty and the BBC is backing him. You can read all about it in the Times and the Daily Mail. The Times, which broke the story, says:
Mr Ansari, 43, faces a potentially unlimited fine if found guilty. A £5,000 cap on fines for identifying sex crime victims was lifted in 2015. The Asian Network editor was charged more than a month ago but the BBC issued no public statement.
This week, after being approached by The Times, the corporation said that the reporter who named the victim “genuinely believed the name he broadcast was a pseudonym”.