The BBC apologized Sept. 25 for a “breach of confidence” in reporting on “a private conversation” with Queen Elizabeth. According to the BBC, its “security correspondent Frank Gardner” discussed his comments with the queen in which she reportedly said that “Abu Hamza could not be arrested,” referencing Abu Hamza al-Masri. NPR identified him as a “fiery radical Muslim preacher” who was “arrested in 2004 and has fought extradition to the U.S. ever since.”
Gardner is quoted as saying on air
“I can tell you that the queen was pretty upset that he was, this man was, there was no way to arrest him. She couldn’t understand why — surely there must have been some law he must have broken. Well in the end, sure enough there was. He was eventually convicted and sentenced for 7 years for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.”
The BBC released a statement about Gardner’s comments in which the BBC said “The conversation should have remained private and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence. It was wholly inappropriate. Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologised to the Palace.”
The BBC noted in its statement that the queen’s comments were “private,” and in its report, that an unnamed Buckingham Palace spokesperson added it doesn’t “comment on private conversations involving any member of the Royal Family.”
The Associated Press explained that Gardner’s reporting the comments were surprising because “The queen never gives interviews or holds press conferences and as a constitutional monarch is prohibited from getting involved in politics.”
We have written to the BBC for further comment and will update with any response.
Hat Tip: Mediaite