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Reporting on the abuse of power…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 stories about and how it can be abused the first of the Tale of an MP caught looking at pool in the House of Commons and what it might tell us about the culture of political reporting at Westminster the other is this 17 my age.

That's the joint BBC Guardian newspaper investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by the DJ Tim Westwood I've been speaking to the reporter behind it as to how you get a story like that over the line, but first just as Europe get stuff on the big tech companies does the UK look poised to do less not more the Financial Times reported yesterday that ministers have ditched plans to empower their newest text.

Well, actual power the Financial Times reported and thus Napoli name digital markets unit was announced to Great fanfare back in 2020 when we discussed it on the media show it was billed as the UK's answer to keeping companies like Facebook and Google in check that the ft reports that this year's Queen's Speech won't give the team the legislative powers they need to flex their muscles me off Philip Marsden one of the treasure is original architect of the digital markets unit also professor at the College of Europe also Kate Bailey as who's the Financial Times is legal correspondent Kate you a story before we get into that.

What is the digital markets unit and why does it matter to Us normal people two years ago.

It would be able to police big tech and really kind of rain in the dominance of those internet Giants like Facebook Google and all the rest of it and the idea was that it would have this sweeping power.

Set new rules for those big tech companies bespoke rules tailored to their specific markets and sectors and it would be able to really heavily enforced against those companies if they fell foul of the rules that's why that's why it matters.

It's very radical regime that was envisaged.


So what have you revealed? So the government is currently not planning to introduce those plans in the Queen's Speech there is not currently planning to empower this digital markets unit with the very tall that needs to enact this radical new regime leaving it essentially hamstrung and that's despite the fact was already introduced so this DMU exists in shadow form with 60 members of staff there abouts but they are unable at the moment to do the job that they were basically hide to do you were with this since the Beginning under Theresa May did the news comes as a surprise to you because the momentum has been really strong to this.

In fact if I can just give you a very bad metaphor anti-trust cases against these big tech Giants I like your a cowboy on foot chasing a galloping Wild Horses this legislation is designed to try to correct that horse and do more for others at least Giants open up to others but not putting this bill through in the queen's speech is like like in the barn door well after the horse has bolted but also locking the car is inside a maybe even send photos of the barn.

So when did you first get the hint but you know it's a 60 strong organisation as it is, when did you first get the hint that have done wasn't quite as it to get into work ASAP to you all the best from Kate paper and her in that regard, but they have been noises and last three or 4 weeks.

It always got a very busy legislative agenda.

We got lots of other things to go but the thing is to use the prime minister for this is oven-baked.

This is ready to go the legislation is pretty well drafted and ready to go to the staff are there they just need to be given that.

Directions from government and I finally thank you think that this is not the social evil purpose behind this this is just literally the government as usual with very big issues like this.

They're not party political being a total sucharit right frankly.

I mean there's something you should not have to work out at all.

They should just pass this and put the legislation to me and listen to me she would have heard of the online safety bill.

It was presented to Parliament last month and that includes measures like placing a duty of care on tech firms to protect users from harmful content and those techcrunch can be issued with heavy fine.

So how is what the digital markets unit so different from that? It's because the problems that you're looking at then I want your mentioning all based on one particular thing which is the market power as you mentioned Casey at the beginning the power that use at these entities have ultimate all they're very good the great for innovation the British Legion was designed at this bill is going to go through to preserve the innovative benefits of this part is powerful companies but also rain in some of the app.

Online safety is an issue, but you can't rain in these giants of an online safety bill miss you have the digital markets unit there to control their power with fortunate enough to have Margot James Hurley to format digital min at the dcms.

Thank you for coming on the program.

I wonder you know how to check the power of the Tech Giants was something that preoccupied a lot of your time when you were minister.

What do you make of this? I'm disappointed in the online harms bill serves a different purpose to the Digital what would have been the digital markets bill which was more about the situation.

I'm things like for example if you look at what the EU and doing their just about to pass the digital markets act at European level and that will do things for tumours like improved competition in ways like the apple payments Monopoly if you have if you make a payment you have to use apple pay.

European metal will mean that's a payment providers will be allowed to participate in that environment charges will come down.

So things like that is more the commercial side of the why is you know almost all advertising now rooting through Google and Facebook that's not fair competition is a lots to do around that which is not really where the online harms bill is orienting.

Can you give us a sense of white mites happened? You know why the government might have changed.

It's policy that they have changed her mind in the policy that we've been able to order it can be various reasons in my experience sometimes.

It is the weight of legislation that has to be very busy with the online harms bill with other legislation as well.

It may have been thought but it's too much for dcms to cope with and I'll have to wait another year.

It might be something else it might be something like that the government might have become worried about the Investment of the technology industry in our markets that they might be concerned that you know too much regulation might put off Investments that could be an issue and that you're not going on that you were in agreement with that.

Are you here? Is that if you thinking about a Google HQ in King's Cross and how many people that might employ even though there are working from home anyway, and you might have the Investment arguments.

I very much agree with Margo on that but the kind of in-patient and Investment into the UK that this bill would unleash in terms of economic diversity people able to choose different sources within these kind of things can actually be really good.

I love Island get right answer by delain this bill you delaying that kind of innovation that kind of investment and you know that the government and a digital markets unit they have a body of men there be men and women are we sitting.

Temperature work on this stuff and now they're not gonna be able to give me the powers and be assigned to everything's ok.

We'll see if you're up early for me after you break the original story.

Thank you so much for coming on the media show Father James I think you're staying on to give some insights later into the culture at Westminster but before that this other story you know he is one of the biggest names in British music for nearly 40 years Tim Westwood dominate UK black music scene before my BBC one and one extra D J was four decades able to make or break the careers of up-and-coming artists rap show a weekly show on capital Xtra until last week when a joint investigation by the BBC and the Guardian for allegations of sexual misconduct to light.

Is underneath trousers he actually tapped me to turn around to look at the fact that he was exposing himself.

I remember just feeling completely powerless 17 twice my age.

I just really wish I'd be able to speak to my teenage self and say oh my god BBC Three 30-minute documentary Tim Westwood the abuse of power investigated the renowned rap DJ hearing from 6 black women who accused him of sexual misconduct predator encounters and unwanted touching he hasn't been made the documentary with colleagues Evans and just before we went on her I spoke to her and ask her about it.

So this story was about 7 oz of unexpected and unwanted sexual behaviour from the radio DJ Tim Westwood now the women who are all black and all in their late teens early 20s when these incidents.

Describe their experiences to the BBC as part of a joint investigation with the Guardian newspaper into the former Radio 1 DJ that say that they met DJ either is aspiring artists or as a 10 days of one of the club nights that he performed at two women both came to London on separate occasions from their homes in the Midlands meet him expecting to discuss music but 11 says he even invited her to do work experience at BBC Radio 1 both accuser DJ instead of giving them to a flat and initiating unexpected and unwanted sex a third woman who was 17 at the time so the DJ subjected her to unwanted oral sex was for other one day Tim Westwood their breasts or put his hand up their skirt or down the back of their shorts was a pose for pictures with him at club nights when it is of course a horrible story, it's all.

They got picked up across the media.

Where is don't come around that often do they wear such a lot of pick up but also where the person accused of wrongdoing and quickly, what was the reaction to the story reactions Bean shoes.

There's been a lot of common in the media and social media about the story now Tim Westwood we must really well known DJ a form of BBC Radio 1 presenter for nearly 20 years and influential in both music and black Communities because of how much are black music on a commercial networks weren't that interested in playing a wide variety of black music and one that interested in showing what black Culture was all about started out on pirate radio.

They said when no one was paying much attention.

He was the tiger DJ who could also command some of the biggest names in rap on to his shows that we're talking.

Kanye West Notorious b.i.g.

BIG names with come and speak to him he was one of those few DJs who would only get that interview everybody was after and we must saved when they story broke a spokesperson for Tim Westwood says he does strenuously denied these allegations and said that he's never acted acts in the manner described but he has stepped down temporarily from his job at the moment at capital now you mention the testimonies of these women is really powerful testimonies that were in the programme.

What will your safeguarding responsibilities as a journalist to those women quite a few of the women that took part in the documentary was actually the first time that they've ever told the whole story to anyone was speaking to us journalist and that's a really precious type of trust especially beak.

You're telling your story essentially to a stranger someone you've never met someone who's contacted you out of the blue someone who you're telling something incredibly sensitive and personal to so the way I did it not every journalist.

Does it this way but the way that I did it with regard to safeguarding.

It's a matter of agreeing how the interviews going to go where and where they will feel safe talking about that.

So obviously I work at the BBC and some people didn't feel comfortable coming to the BBC so we didn't do that.

It's also a matter of reassuring them that they can contact me anytime of the day or night because again you never know how you're going to react once you released that thing that has been back of your mind for a really long time you never know some people would want to just ring you and scream or they might have lots of questions and they might not want to do it in.

25 during the day when they're trying to concentrate and work so we make sure that our names and Numbers were always available for any questions or any kind of reaction that people want a half it's about talking through each step so it's not just you give us the interview.

It's going to be broadcast.

It's about talking them through each step of what's going to happen.

What you doing because it's that waiting period that I think causes a lot more anxiety unnecessary anxiety for some people that decide to tell these kinds of stories and you don't want monster silence.

You don't want long periods of Silence between when they when they've given that really sensitive piece of information to you and time it's going to be broadcast and then more importantly.

It's the checking in with them.

Just before the broadcast to make sure that they are ok and checking in with them straight after the broadcast to make.

They're ok and making sure that they're not they've not been re triggered asking them really simple things like what you doing this weekend because it does take away the from effectively playing on the thing that they've told you about that my trigger them and and caused a mental health issue, so we try and make sure that we constantly talk about back to my colleague Ruth said that for her what she does she worked on This documentary with me.

She will ask somebody about something that has nothing to do with the actual story for almost the same length of time that we talked about for the actual story because I think she read somewhere that psychologically that is a good parent.

So that people on triggered further definitely want to be traumatised people equally you ask him to go through something that's pretty horrific.

I mean these were all black women that were given me their test.

Difficult you think it is to get stories from the back community particular BBC perhaps.

It is difficult to get stories like this from the black community and it's not easy.

I would argue.

It's largely through a huge mistrust of black Communities and the media and black Communities don't trust necessarily than me have been historically portrayed negative lights even stories that matter to the black Communities not being given as much prominence in user genders as other stories plus.

There's a belief that black people like me working at the BBC ready Willing and Able to listen to these types of stories and fight for them to get on the news agenda, and that is a problem that is a problem at the BBC but

It is difficult to get people to open up about any kind of story like this, but I found it particularly difficult in black Communities yeah and as you said to him when he's nice all the allegations.

He says in a career that spanned 40 years and never been any complaints made against him officially or unofficial.

He said his spokesperson.

Do you expect more women to come forward or is this the end of it as you can imagine? This is as a sad result of this story and a sad because yes, it's spots quite a reaction and a lot of people have got in touch with the BBC the music industry.

Hadn't has not had it's what I would call over me to moment but this story hoping may give people the courage to come forward.

That was chi chi izundu and the documentary Tim Westwood and abuse of power is on BBC iPlayer and will be broadcast on BBC One tonight at 10:40 p.m.


We have heard a lot about peas and the culture of Westminster over the last week from Angela Rayner being accused of crossing her legs to distract Boris Johnson and debates to sexual misconduct accusations head in the front benches of both parties to Conservative MP find the admission to watching porn in the debating chamber, but what about the culture of political journalism reporting on them former minister and Conservative MP Margot James is still with us as our political reporter for the website politics home and Katie Ferguson the deputy political editor at the sun and Kate you and the sun colleague have that exclusive that at that point unnamed male MP has been accused of watching porn in house of commons.

How did you break that story cake?

Tory MPs have been having a meeting in parliament and that meeting was there to discuss how you can keep and attract more women in politics that quite quickly became a source of eating lots of anger boiled over into allegations of sexual misconduct in their own colleagues and in that white discharge meeting someone on his phone watching pornography in the House of Commons chamber and someone told me that so that's how we got that storybreak early the next day.

Did you realise quite how big a story it was going to because all these other stories swirling at that point and that may be made a difference in terms of how big it was or did you know it was going to be as big as it? Was you that was going to be a big part of the reason that meeting was called was the day before couple of days before the Sunday Times had a different story which they revealed that a couple of Cabinet ministers and some

Benches for being investigated for sexual conduct it was already swelling around these ideas and anger over help women with interested in parliament and who was responsible for the people on the front bench could be responsible for it and once you had reported an MP have been watching pornos.

Did you know it's only a matter of time before the name immersion all love him that you report that can of worms open and everyone is trying to chase the name and for a couple of days.

No one have the real name so we did have rumours swirling about it would be part of the reason why I had to come out and say it was him or email and run up and told we've been told it's you is it you so you're having people accused of doing something.

They have actually done.

It was quite awkward.

I think the parliamentary party to be put through that.

And would have people been called up because they were on a list of you know people who might do this sort of thing or is it just people were calling everybody sing OK well? This is a story for us as an opportunity to find out more about the culture of political journalism at Westminster Langford let me bring you in here.

Cos you're reporter for the website politics home and when I said the new to the lobby, what your experience in this field is after hours for the last 8 months.

I really been exposed to this before but it surprised me how quick behaviour from from from an argument to hearing about sexual harassment and experiencing inappropriate.

It was a bit of rice.

How quickly it came to me in the first few months and what sort of inappropriate comments.

Have you experienced? Have you experienced any ask me if I if I did it would help my career due date LPS my parents and comparing us and I've ever heard of making jokes about female colleagues and it's thanks for that.

I've never had anything.

She's a bit but it is little uncomfortable be hearing that when you are in a debit card from your office effectively that's one of the things come up and have a lot of behaviour in your head before I bring you in mind.

I just want to ask you one more thing Ireland which is in a wee friend or discussion at the top of the programme about power and Harry

Used I wondered when you're early on your career like you are is it particularly hard to speak out when your career effectively depends on cultivating relationships with MPs 18 episode like that.

I don't feel comfortable with them.

They will deal with that and have you said that to you about it is a bit smaller publication under the list that you think that I don't have necessarily impact for 30 years my heart.

So it's a lot more that the power of his hands and they are not picking up the phone to me or text me so there is a bit of a current balance there when you're a mortgage and let me bring it when you're a minister in the dcms you Wilson MP and now you are out of Parliament I wonder now.

You know reflecting on that relationship between journalists and MPs

From the MPs side, what was your take on it which you know I was always on her on a progressive conveyor belt if you like hoping things will get better backwards, but why do you think that is awkwardly? I have to say that I think it's possibly because of the election of a lot more conservative men I do feel there is a difference between from my recollection certain behaviours that were more common in my party than they were on the labour benches women in the Labour Party have been banging the Drum about what's acceptable behaviour and what isn't for longer than women in the Conservative Party and I'm delighted.

Play some of the reactions I have heard from some of my former colleagues over the last 10 days women like Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been honest about some of the unacceptable behaviour should I receive from from peers women likes to play brotherman Caroline notes? They have been very firm on this and I think and then from the backbenchers Pauline as well from Derbyshire she has been fantastic.

So there's a lot of women now.

I think in the Conservative Party saying enough is enough we going to change this and it's ok Kate Ferguson they're back in your does political journalism have more of an issue with sexism.

Do you think than other areas of journalism?

I don't have a straight answer to that.

I couldn't tell you.

Yes or no to that if I'm honest I used to be a general reporter for 10 years.

I've been and will be reported for 5-years the main difference between the reporter your based in Parliament your cultivating relationships with the last year maybe to see through to the end of your career and so it's more friends to relationship.

Keep on good terms with do you get good stories out of the bars for example.

Yes, you do and I know that the bars you come in for a fair bit of criticism but in my opinion bad behaviour is bad behaviour wherever it happens and grown men and women should be more than able to hold a drink at the bar without resorting to sorry.

Sorry, what's your take on whether political journalism has more of an issue with sexism than other areas a journalism.

Ok, I'm not certain of journalism, but I do think that because as he was saying because of that very personal relationships.

You have the hat with everything and you may be experienced a lot more people and get a lot more closely.

So you may be encountered these kind of it more often because rather than seeking to 30 and then again and again and there's not a chance for inappropriate behaviour to come out if somebody is that way inclined? I'm just very quickly on your list of who you tell your editor.

Is it is it by political party worse than the other can you not say fair enough? I'm afraid that is all we have time for today.

Thank you so much my James former minister and executive chair at the University of Warwick you also of course the cake Ferguson dead people together at the sun and Ellen Langford from politics home who was just ending at their the media show will be back next week.

Thank you so much for listening.


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