Since the sad culmination of the Nicola Bulley investigation, scrutiny has turned to the role of the media. The Bulley family issued a statement yesterday saying Bulley’s husband was “vilified”, particularly pointing the finger at Sky News and ITV in particular for contacting the family despite their request for privacy. The media’s coverage of the case has been described as “ghoulish”…
Guido usually leans towards freedom of the press, however taking a look at Sky New’s coverage, this description clearly seems accurate. After previously spending her mornings tracing Bulley’s final route on live TV with Inzamam Rashid, Kay Burley did another report yesterday. From an actual graveyard.
Kay reported that as the dust settled “Lancashire police have got a lot of questions to answer”. And what about the ghoulish media, Kay?
UPDATE: Broadcast regulator Ofcom say: “We are extremely concerned to hear the comments made by the family of Nicola Bulley about two broadcast licensees. We have written to ITV News and Sky News to ask them to explain their actions. We will then assess whether any further action is required.”
As scooped by the Mail on Sunday yesterday, a racism row has broken out over at Sky News after Inzamam Rashid – who co-conspirators will remember was suspended for three months after attending Kay Burley’s infamous lockdown birthday party – accused the channel’s coverage of being “very white”. Screenshots sent to Guido show Rashid making the comment in the chat of an all-staff meeting:
Guido’s mole said it was a bit rich of Inzamam to slag off his colleagues in Ukraine over diversity, especially since one – Stuart Ramsay – has been shot and wounded in the line of duty. In response, Sky News head John Ryley told him he wouldn’t ever send anyone to Ukraine who wasn’t experienced…
Rashid’s complaint was also called out by Alex Crawford, Sky New’s Special Correspondent, who said that while the channel does care about diversity, it’s not correct to say there has not been anyone “of colour either on or off screen”, as her “Chinese mother and grand-mother… would be appalled that their daughter’s/grand-daughter’s heritage and background had been so casually dismissed!”
“I’m pretty sure Neville Lazarus currently in Odessa, Zein Ja’far who is heading back for his second stint in Ukraine plus Dominique Van Heerden, just recently back from her trip would all take exception to your assertion as, along with being among the best operators in the industry and highly experienced in hostile environments, they’re all contributing massively both on and off air!
Given the excessively high number of journalists who’ve been killed and injured in this war, including our own colleaques, no-one but no-one believes this is an environment which is anything other than hugely challenging and dangerous – and for which you need to be more than adequately prepared. If you believe there are individuals in our newsroom who’ve been overlooked then that’s a different issue. But I’m not convinced it’s a diversitv issue.
I guess we all have to be careful about making assumptions both on and off air and continue to strive together as a team to be inclusive as well as develop, attract and retain staff of all backgrounds.”
Rashid’s critique was pretty rash, given – as Guido’s source points out – many don’t think they should be taking lectures from someone who brought the channel’s reputation into question when breaking lockdown rules just weeks after joining the company. Maybe he’d be happier in HR…
Inzaman Rashid, suspended northern reporter for Sky News, tweeted today that he had been hospitalised with Covid-19 over Christmas alongside his father.
“I had oxygen to help with breathing, Dad had a lot. He’s 61, fit, healthy – but this virus ravaged him. He’s left crippled now as a result, the long term damages are devastating.”
Rashid made headlines in December after Guido revealed he had breached Covid regulations by attending Kay Burely’s 60th birthday party, which led to his three-month suspension along with Burely and Sky News political editor Beth Rigby. Rashid tested positive on the 28th of December. 23 days after Burley’s party, and 18 days after his suspension.
Rashid says that he
“…[hopes he] can help even one BAME person to ignore the myths, the lies, the idiotic commentary about the vaccines and take it. Because you don’t want this virus, trust me.”
Both he and his father are now out of hospital after a torrid time. Guido wishes them well in their recovery.
Sky News statement:
“A small number of Sky News staff attended a social event in London on Saturday evening during which COVID-19 guidelines were breached.
As a result of an internal review Sky News presenter Kay Burley has agreed to be off air for six months, and political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid have agreed to be off air for three months.
All those involved regret the incident and have apologised.
Everyone at Sky News is expected to comply with the rules and the company takes breaches like this very seriously indeed.”
Kay Burley has released a statement:
“It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules. It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry. Some dear friends and colleagues – some of the most talented and committed professionals in our business – have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously… I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32-year career with Sky when I return.”
How Kay thought it was Covid-compliant to bring people home after a night out on the tiles is beyond belief, she quizzed ministers about the rules regularly – she must have known. The station realised that it would lose all credibility reporting on the pandemic with presenters who had so blatantly breached the rules after taking censorious positions themselves. Kay did not help herself by lying about the evening’s events.
Following the 1pm all-staff meeting Guido this morning revealed was happening at Sky, Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid and Sam Washington have all been taken off air pending investigation. They join Kay Burley in being suspended on full pay over Christmas…
The mood at Sky News cannot be overstated right now. Junior staffers are furious with their superiors for the hypocrisy. Earlier today Adam Boulton retweeted a post calling Kay and her birthday bash goers “Morons”. Whatever happened to that Sky news Twitter views ban?
As Sky New’s internal investigation causes angst inside the Osterley campus, a Sky mole gets in contact with Guido to add fuel to the fire; pointing out that not only did Kay’s birthday bash break Tier 2 laws, the broadcaster’s North of England correspondent Inzamam Rashid had to travel down from his Manchester home to attend. A 206 mile journey which would was not by any means essential. Ironically, Inzamam in English means ‘to get together with friends’…
Guido’s mole suggests management want to get rid of Inzamam as they feel his presence and breach was “particularly egregious.” Based on stories Guido’s heard from Inzamam’s former BBC North West colleagues, a sacking over his Covid rule breach would be tamer than his last dismissal…