Did the BBC use LSE students as human shields in North Korea?

BBC underfire for North Korea filming

The BBC have refused to take down a Panorama programme that was filmed secretly in North Korea on a trip with students from the London School of Economics.

According to the LSE, the students did not know that they would be filmed secretly, nor would there be a team of three journalists filming the trip.

In a statement released earlier to Sky News, LSE director Professor Craig Calhoun said:

"The school was not informed at all in any way about this. The BBC chose to present this as though the reporters were LSE students or staff….The BBC chose also to make this appear as if it was an LSE trip, when it was not." - Guardian

Panorama Reporter Jon Sweeney defended the trip and fired back at the LSE via his Twitter.

The LSE Student's Union said that the those who had gone on the trip had been used "as a human shield", according to the BBC's own report.

Should the BBC have made it more clear to the LSE what the exact intentions of the reporters had been? Was this a significant danger to everyone on the trip? Seeing how precarious the situation is in North Korea at the moment, this troubling story raises the issue of how programmes are planned and presented to those who participate. Whether the information was misinterpreted by the LSE before the trip, or not fully disclosed by the BBC is up for debate.

What do you think?

film industry network members