John Ware

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Person.png John Ware  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(journalist, author)
John Ware.jpg
"John Ware’s own personal and political views make him unsuitable to present this programme."[1]

John Ware is a British journalist, author, and investigative reporter. He was a reporter on the BBC public affairs documentary programme Panorama from 1986 to 2012. He joined Panorama as a reporter after working at the Worcester Evening News and Droitwich Guardian.

John Ware has also written for the The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, the Jewish Chronicle and Standpoint magazine.[2][3][4][5]

In April 2020, The Canary revealed that John Ware is a member of a "new group of anti-socialist hacks that has formed in order to rescue the failing Jewish Chronicle (JC), which was a key part of vicious media efforts to keep former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn out of power."[6]

On 31 May 2021, following John Ware's op-ed article in the Observer,[7] Jonathan Cook tweeted:

John Ware says Princess Di interview was a one-off example of bad BBC practices. The same John Ware who fronted a BBC hit-job on Corbyn that obscured the fact that its antisemitism thesis relied on people already exposed as fervent Israel lobbyists.[8]

Early career

Earlier, he was at The Sun in Belfast from 1974 to 1977 and then a researcher on Granada's World in Action, becoming a producer in 1981. He also presented BBC's Rough Justice, Taking Liberties and Inside Story. Several of the cases profiled in the show were referred back to the Court of Appeal and several resulted in overturned convictions. Ware has covered Northern Ireland since 1974.

At the BBC

According to the BBC, some of John Ware's accomplishments while employed by the broadcaster include:

  • 1984, filming two Scotland Yard Flying Squad officers in the act of setting up an armed robbery. His evidence led to their trial at the Old Bailey.
  • 1989, uncovering evidence that led the District Auditor and then the High Court to accuse Dame Shirley Porter of "gerrymandering", by attempting to rig the Westminster City Council's elections.
  • 1990, discovering an attempt by paratroopers in Belfast to cover up the unlawful shooting of joyriders.[9] The conviction for murder of the paratrooper, Lee Clegg, for this incident was ultimately quashed on appeal.[10]
  • 1996, reporting on human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and how the Sharia courts condemned an innocent young man to public beheading.
  • 1997, discovering papers belonging to the Deputy Prime Minister showing that, despite elections promises to the contrary, the new Labour government planned to privatise the London Underground within two months of taking office.
  • 1998, unearthing evidence showing that Deborah Parry, one of the two "Saudi Nurses", was innocent of murdering Yvonne Gilford in 1996.
  • 1998, securing evidence of secret price fixing deals between car dealers and three leading motor manufacturers, including Volvo, which led to the Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman to accuse the Swedish car giant of "disgraceful" conduct, while pointing out that under the government's proposed new competition laws, the company could have been fined £70m.

He has taken a particular interest in investigating Islamic extremism.

  • 2005, A Panorama edition Ware produced criticising the Muslim Council of Britain, A Question of Leadership, was described by them as "deeply unfair" and "a witch hunt".[11]
  • 2006, Responding to complaints about another Panorama edition, Faith, Hate and Charity produced by Ware, the Charity Commission in 2009[12] dismissed its allegations that British based Palestinian relief charity Interpal was funding organisations involved in terrorism.[13] The Muslim Council of Britain described Ware as "an agenda-driven pro-Israel polemicist". The programme resulted in the BBC paying undisclosed libel damages and giving a public apology to the General Manager of Islamic Relief UK, who was prominently shown while not being a subject of the programme.[14]
  • 2010, Another Panorama edition by Ware, British schools, Islamic Rules on some Islamic teaching in Britain, was criticised by the Muslim Council of Britain as a partial and unbalanced portrayal.[15]

Freelancing

In 2012, Ware took voluntary redundancy from the BBC, but has continued with some freelance work.[16] Since leaving the BBC, he has published articles about its top management.[17][18]

In 2015, Ware was commended for being "sympathetic to Jewish concerns", receiving a Commitment to Media Award from the Women's International Zionist Organization. Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, said "I tell our trainees at the JC, that if there is one person they should model themselves on, it is John Ware.".[19]

Princess Diana, Martin Bashir and the BBC

On 20 May 2021, following a four-day delay due to a “significant duty of care issue”, the BBC broadcast John Ware's Panorama investigation into Martin Bashir’s 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.[20]

"Princess Diana, Martin Bashir and the BBC": Twenty-five years ago, Panorama reporter Martin Bashir secured his global scoop interview with Princess Diana.

Now, a new Panorama team fronted by journalist John Ware has carried out its own four-month investigation, with exclusive interviews and revelations from internal BBC documents.

This is the inside story of how Martin Bashir obtained his career-defining interview, and how the BBC responded when it discovered he had faked bank statements and shown them to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer.[21]


According to Ware, the small BBC appointments board that gave Bashir the role of religious affairs correspondent in 2016 did not ask questions about his dubious record at the BBC, nor at Tonight on ITV, where he had interviewed Michael Jackson, nor in America at ABC and then NBC. Criticism of his methods and attitudes had made newspaper headlines several times with each broadcaster.

Instead, Bashir’s response to a question that was asked of all candidates about the doctrine of St Paul won them over. “Asked by the then head of news and current affairs, James Harding, to explain the difference between the Pauline doctrine and the original teachings of Jesus Christ, Bashir apparently acquitted himself brilliantly. Harding, himself a theology buff, was duly impressed,” writes Ware. The BBC announcement of Bashir’s appointment that September praised his “immense knowledge” as a “student of theology”.

Specific questions were not asked, Ware believes, about the background to the Panorama interview that had increased the isolation of the Princess from the rest of the royal family. This was despite the fact that senior BBC news staff, including the serving Director-General, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, were already aware of Bashir’s deceptions.[22]

Labour documentaries

John Ware presented two controversial documentaries on the Labour Party in recent years.

Labour's Earthquake

  • September 2015, A Panorama edition by Ware on the campaign of Jeremy Corbyn to be elected as Labour Party leader, Labour's Earthquake, attracted hundreds of complaints, including from Corbyn's campaign team, and was described by a member of Corbyn's campaign team as "containing factual inaccuracies" and "a complete hatchet job".[23]

Is Labour Anti-Semitic?

  • July 2019, An extended Panorama edition, entitled Is Labour Anti-Semitic?, was described by Labour as containing "deliberate and malicious representations designed to mislead" and the party alleged that "Panorama has pre-determined the outcome of its investigation and is relying on unsubstantiated allegations and misrepresentation to come to its conclusions." and that "No proper attempt has been made by Panorama to understand Labour’s current processes and procedures".[24]

Ware to sue Corbyn

On 22 July 2020, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer agreed to pay damages and give an unreserved apology to John Ware, who was subject to "false and defamatory" comments before the Is Labour Anti-Semitic? programme was aired which had now been withdrawn.

Barrister William Bennett QC, representing Ware and seven Labour ex-staffers featured in the programme, said Labour had alleged that Ware “invented quotes, flouted journalistic ethics and… knowingly promoted falsehoods” in pursuit of “a pre-determined outcome to the question asked by the Panorama programme”. At a brief hearing at the High Court in London, Ware said he accepted Labour's apology, adding: "It was an unwritten code amongst we journalists that we don't sue because free speech is sacrosanct, but the world has changed thanks to social media. You either accept and shrug your shoulders when people call you a liar and say you fabricated evidence and deliberately promoted falsehoods - as the Labour Party did - or you decide to do something about it. So I decided to do something about it."[25]

Former leader Jeremy Corbyn reacted:

Labour Party members have a right to accountability and transparency of decisions taken in their name, and an effective commitment from the party to combat antisemitism and racism in all their forms.

The Party’s decision to apologise today and make substantial payments to former staff who sued the party in relation to last year’s Panorama programme is a political decision, not a legal one.

Our legal advice was that the party had a strong defence, and the evidence in the leaked Labour report that is now the subject of an NEC inquiry led by Martin Forde QC strengthened concerns about the role played by some of those who took part in the programme. The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent years.[26]

To give our members the answers and justice they deserve, the inquiry led by Martin Forde must now fully address the evidence the internal report uncovered of racism, sexism, factionalism and obstruction of Labour’s UK/2017 General Election campaign.[27]

Following Corbyn’s statement, lawyer Mark Lewis, from Patron Law, said: “I can confirm that I have been instructed to pursue cases and further actions will be taken against those who repeat the libels.

“Today in the High Court, the Labour Party retracted its false allegations made about the Panorama programme asking whether Labour was anti-Semitic.

“The answer was a clear ‘yes’. Labour chose to double down and attack the programme’s presenter, John Ware, and the whistleblowers rather than addressing the truth of the problem.”[28]

Jeremy's Legal Fund

On 23 July 2020, Labour supporter Carole Morgan established Jeremy's Legal Fund to combat John Ware's legal action:

It is reported that John Ware a reporter for Panorama is taking legal action for libel against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The relentless attacks on Mr Corbyn, a man of integrity, honesty and humility cannot be allowed to continue and we have an opportunity here to offer him support in a practical way. It will also let him know that his supporters have not forgotten him, nor have they gone away.

A day later, with Jeremy's Legal Fund standing at over £200,000 from over 10,000 donors, Carole Morgan wrote:

I wanted to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to everyone for the most amazing and overwhelming response to this fundraiser for Jeremy Corbyn. Although Jeremy did not know beforehand that I was going to start this campaign, Jeremy's office has been in touch and he is deeply touched by this outpouring of love and support from you all.

The funds on this campaign will not be touched and remain on hold by GoFundMe until the details for distribution have been established with Jeremy's office and I will continue to provide updates as they become available.

As you know, when I began this just over 24 hours ago, I wasn't sure what response I would get (why would I, I've never been moved to do anything like this before). However, like you, I am outraged by the unrelenting attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, a man who only ever wanted the best for the people of this country, and who lead with humility, integrity and honesty.

These ongoing attacks, both legal and political drove me to want to do something about it, and to let Jeremy know he is not alone. Far too many injustices have, and are being leveled at Jeremy that I have no doubt that this fund will help support him in what he is facing. Through this fund, it will become known that Jeremy is NOT alone. He is NOT the few. He is one amongst the many and we have started a fight back!

My gratitude to you all.[29]

On 27 July 2020, Jeremy's Legal Fund stood at over £301,000 from over 16,000 donors. Carole Morgan wrote:

Hello, it's me again. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine when I decided to act in support of Jeremy Corbyn that the fund would make the impact that it has. I have received hundreds of emails from well wishers who have expressed their love and support for Jeremy, and also to me for setting up the fund, for which I thank you.

I had a need to express my gratitude and support for Jeremy and setting up this fund was the only way I could think of to achieve that. I didn't realise at the time just how many of you shared that same need. Jeremy's support fund has had an effect in ways that I never expected. Those of us who have always longed for a better world, one that ensures dignity, security and peace for all humanity found ourselves voiceless after the terrible general election result and the subsequent loss of Jeremy as our democratically elected Leader of the Labour Party.

Through Jeremy's fund we have found our voice again. We are One voice that cries out for justice, not just for Jeremy, but for all the people who have suffered so terribly under the years of austerity here in the UK, those who are suffering political upheaval, wars and genocide around the world. I have received emails from so many like minded people who are struggling to hold their lives together and are not in a position to donate, so I wanted to share with you all that there are still more of us out there than even the fund can reflect.

Of course there are those who oppose what we have achieved in so short a time. I have come to the realisation that this is because they are afraid. The fear they carry is like a disease that has spread through every fibre of their lives and their being. It has always been there and they have learned to see the world only through the eyes of fear. They are afraid of the changes that we want to create in the world; the return of love, compassion, equality and peace. They seek to stamp us out because they are afraid for their very existence. They are unable to understand that they are welcome to share in our world, if they would only let go of their fear.

Of course a platform is just that. It is important to remind yourselves that it is each and every one of you who has turned the platform into a shining beacon of light. Words cannot convey my gratitude to you all, and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

With love

Carole

 

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:BBC Panorama Investigation Into Labour Antisemitism Omitted Key Evidence and Parts of Labour’s ResponseArticle22 July 2020Justin SchlosbergThe fact that the Labour Party is now settling libel cases brought by both John Ware and the Labour 'whistleblowers' is remarkable, not least because there is meant to be an ongoing internal inquiry into the leaked internal report, whose findings have now effectively been prejudged. But I’ve been told this will cost the party close to half a million in damages and costs.
Document:Is The BBC Anti-Labour?ReportDecember 2019Paddy FrenchPaddy French's antidote to John Ware's Panorama programme "Is Labour Anti-Semitic?"
Document:Jeremy Corbyn’s Opponents Burned the House Down to Stop Him - Now Keir Starmer Is King of the AshesArticle25 July 2020Daniel FinnBy sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey on a trumped-up pretext, Sir Keir Rodney Starmer has set the seal on a drastic shift to the right for the Labour Party. That shift comes just as the key arguments by Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents to justify a break with his left leadership have been falling apart in the face of overwhelming evidence.
Document:That Leaked Labour Party Reportblog post20 April 2020Craig MurrayThat Leaked Labour Party Report proves conclusively that Sam Matthews’ allegations of unwarranted interference from Corbyn’s office to block anti-semitism action are malicious lies.
Document:With Panorama's hatchet job on Labour antisemitism, BBC has become pro-Tory mediaArticle11 July 2019Jonathan CookThe question is why did the BBC’s flagship political investigations show decide that the marginal problem of racism in Labour was a much more urgent matter than the provable and significant racism in the Conservative Party?


References

  1. "The Labour Party’s responses to the Panorama programme and its fallout have been good"
  2. "John Ware" Reporters BBC Panorama
  3. "John Ware, The Guardian"
  4. "Jewish Chronicle: John Ware"
  5. "Articles By John Ware"
  6. "The worrying new supergroup involving the man behind Panorama’s 2019 hit-job on Corbyn"
  7. "We jump through hoops to make BBC programmes fair. Don’t let critics claim otherwise"
  8. "John Ware says Princess Di interview was a one-off example of bad BBC practices"
  9. "The Politics of Parole"
  10. "15 years after killing joyrider, Lee Clegg is put back in the line"
  11. "It's the last chance for Panorama"
  12. "Inquiry Report - Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal)"
  13. "Interpal did not fund terrorist groups"
  14. "BBC's Panorama in libel payout to Islamic charity boss"
  15. "MCB Statement on Panorama Story – 'British Schools, Islamic Rules'”
  16. "John Ware and Vivian White to leave Panorama"
  17. "A personal tragedy and a hammer blow for an honest institution"
  18. "The 'guardians. who damaged the BBC"
  19. "Leading journalist John Ware wins Wizo media award"
  20. "BBC delays Panorama programme on Bashir interview with Diana"
  21. "Princess Diana, Martin Bashir and the BBC"
  22. "Martin Bashir won over BBC with his grasp of theology"
  23. "Jeremy Corbyn's team send a complaint to the BBC over its 'hatchet job' Panorama programme"
  24. "‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’: BBC Panorama on political interference and leaked emails"
  25. "Anti-Semitism: Labour pays damages for 'hurt' to whistleblowers"
  26. "‘Forde Inquiry’ into leaked Labour report fatally compromised by ‘grovelling’ apology in court case Labour’s lawyers said it would win – NEC members"
  27. "The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing"
  28. "Journalist John Ware pursues legal action against Jeremy Corbyn after Labour settles over Panorama anti-Semitism programme smears"
  29. "Jeremy's Legal Fund"
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