BBC Wales vows to defend sources of childcare film

BBC Wales has said it "will vigorously defend" its sources after Cardiff City Council began legal action against its flagship investigative journalism programme, Week In, Week Out.

The council has brought proceedings, claiming the weekly programme had used confidential information in an edition highlighting alleged shortcomings in the protection of children considered at risk from drugs and paedophiles.

After the programme was shown last October, Cardiff City Council went to court to take out an injunction against BBC Wales that blocked the broadcaster from reshowing the programme, which was critical of its social services’ child protection procedures.

BBC Wales is expected to go to court in June after a pre-trial hearing this month. A spokesman for BBC Wales said the broadcaster would be contesting the council demand that it reveal its sources.

He added that the child protection issues raised in the programme were of "significant public interest" and the source material used had been used "on duty of confidentiality".

A spokeswoman for the South Wales Police confirmed that Cardiff City Council had also referred the matter to it when the BBC refused to return confidential information that had been used by the three journalists who worked on Week In, Week Out.

The spokeswoman added that the police investigation had been concluded and that it was now a matter between BBC Wales and Cardiff City Council. But she said that the police could look at the case again if the BBC was forced to disclose its sources.

Week In, Week Out, which has been running since the early Sixties, faced legal action 18 months ago over an investigation into standards of care in a nursing home.

The case was thrown out by a High Court judge.

By Julie Tomlin

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