John Sweeney leaves BBC after 17 years with parting shot at Tommy Robinson

BBC journalist John Sweeney is leaving the corporation after 17 years, having made a name for himself reporting for Panorama and Newsnight on topics ranging from Scientology to North Korea.

“It’s high time to make trouble elsewhere,” he tweeted today about his departure.

In a parting shot to right-wing activist Tommy Robinson, whom he had investigated earlier this year, Sweeney added: “…I can finally say these are not the views of the BBC but he’s a complete c**t.”

Should Google and Facebook be forced to pay publishers for content?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Sweeney’s report on Robinson for BBC Panorama never aired after he was secretly filmed speaking with a source over drinks who turned out to be an ally of Robinson, with the footage later shared online.

Some of Sweeney’s remarks during the encounter forced Panorama to issue a statement acknowledging they had been “offensive and inappropriate” and apologising on his behalf.

Thousands of Robinson’s supporters took to the streets outside the BBC’s Salford offices in February to protest the Panorama investigation into him. Robinson believes the media is “corrupt” and out to smear him.

Panorama’s arranged interview with Robinson was also hijacked by the English Defence League founder who filmed the encounter for his own video attempting to bring down the investigations programme.

In the video, published online earlier this year, Robinson tells Sweeney: “You’re finished,” to which the journalist replied: “If you think I’m finished you’ve got another thing coming and I can give you that for free.”

Sweeney is perhaps most well-known for his angry outburst at Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis during a 2007 Panorama special, having been targeted by the church over his investigation into it.

He later apologised, saying he was “wrong to lose it”. Sweeney did a follow-up programme on Scientology for Panorama in 2010 in which a former handler for the church admitted hiring people to follow him.

But it was his work helping to clear the names of five mothers wrongly accused of killing their children, who had in fact died of cot death, for which he won the Paul Foot Award in 2005 and a Royal Television Society gong.

Sweeney joined the BBC in 2001 after 12 years at The Observer, having started his journalism career at the Sheffield Telegraph.

He survived repeated attempts to make him redundant at Panorama, at one point earning the office nickname “dead man walking”. He was most recently reporting for Newsnight.

Appraising his career today, Sweeney tweeted: “Thanks to my great pals at BBC. Together we helped free five cot death mums starting with Sally Clark, jailed on wrong evidence of Prof Sir Roy Meadow.

“Trump got challenged over his links with Russian mob, Putin over the shoot-down of MH17 and I yelled at Church of Scientology.”

Joanna Carr, the BBC’s head of current affairs, said: “During his time here, John has carried out courageous and award-winning journalism…

“John’s investigations have made a significant contribution to BBC journalism and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Sweeney also revealed he has written a book on the death of investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb in Malta two years ago. No-one has yet been put on trial for her murder.

Murder On The Malta Express: Who Killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, is set to be published on 14 October.

Sweeney added: “I remain an old school reporter, up for the right kind of trouble. I’ll be back.”

Picture: BBC Newsnight

SIGN UP HERE FOR

PRESS GAZETTE DAILY

Our free daily round-up of the biggest news about the world of news

Comments

38 thoughts on “John Sweeney leaves BBC after 17 years with parting shot at Tommy Robinson”

  1. I think this article is more relevant today than ever especially with the BLM protest. The bias in the media has been seriously exposed over the past few years with Tommy, Brexit, and now with the elitist left wing media trying to bring a divide within the population using George Floyd’s death for their Agenda. Soros and co are using this to divide to conquer the masses so when the biggest economic disaster gets realised we are at war with each other and the camera’s not pointing at them. George Floyds death is the most horrible thing I’ve seen but it’s not a race issue like BLM ,Antifa and Hope Not Hate are pressing it’s a police brutality issue that’s an American problem. So why are these organisations causing trouble using explosive rhetoric in other countries and even bringing other issues into play, In Britain we are a mature non racist society which can debate our problems away. So ask yourself why is this explosive divisional Agenda being used ? And for who it really works for and the answers are probably in some way to belong to who funds them ? Let’s come together and not let the elites deflect and divide our Great country. God bless and peace to all.

  2. Not at all of course what I’m saying is the media have an Agenda and we have seen it played out in this drama. And it shows how the media will go to any lengths to satisfy their narrative. Such as the Brexit issue if you came to this country say nearly 18 months ago and switched on the TV and listened to the news, MP’s and so on you would of thought the whole country had changed it’s mind on Brexit but not true at all. So Tommy’s totally entitled to the power of the law. This is the point their is total bias in the BLM protests theirs violence on the streets that’s not being reported truly that seem to be able to get away Scot free. As when the football alliance went the week after they were reported as racists. Completely not true and if you were to look at Hope Not Hates website they advocated violence towards the football alliance but when looking at the alliance posts they took the position of they had no problems with BLM at all and told members who thought it was a counter protest to keep away. I found this info easily but the media still tried to stoke race arguments and you could say division and war. I’m totally on the side of Tommy on this one and was just pointing out how the media’s position ie John Snow’s has not changed and they keep using the same moves just on a different problem but it’s become evident that it’s actually wide spread through out our media. John snow and the BBC deserve to be held to account fully. I’m saying our media is controlled by the elites for the elites and we as the public are fed untruths on a daily basis to promote the Agendas of the elites. And as I said it’s even more relevant on today’s problems which includes the BLM protests.

1 2 3 19

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × five =