Thursday, 20 August 2009

Undercover journalist arrested

BBC journalist Arifa Farooq, who went undercover as a carer to expose flaws in the system in the care of elderly in their own homes, has been arrested earlier this month and is facing criminal prosecution.

The Panorama documentary, Britain's Homecare Scandal, which was aired in April, revealed malpractice in companies caring for older people at home.

Arifa Farooq, 30, who works with the BBC Scotland investigations unit, was one of several reporters who went undercover for two months to research the story.

She was arrested and questioned earlier this month in relation to allegations of making a false disclosure in the course of her investigation.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on the prosecuting authorities in Scotland to use common sense and to rule out the prosecution of a Glasgow-based journalist.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “We are strongly urging the authorities to use their common sense and rule out prosecution. The work undertaken by Arifa Farooq was clearly in the public interest and it is now in the public interest for the case to be dropped.

“The only people who would benefit from legal action in these circumstances are those who want to stop the kind of vital journalism that has been undertaken by Arifa."

The Local Government Committee at the Scottish Parliament has been investigating issues around elderly care provision that were raised by the Panorama programme.

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