Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,
In 2017 Sarah Sands was appointed as editor of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. Previously she had worked for the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard (owned by a Russian oligarch). She had also been known to campaign actively for Conservative candidates at general elections and in the London mayoral elections.
Since her appointment as editor of Today, the programme has faced growing criticism over falling standards of impartial and truthful journalism, harming the BBC’s excellent reputation for this. On this morning’s programme the presenter wasn’t prepared with even the most basic research to be able to challenge false claims about food poisoning by the American ambassador to the UK, a political appointee by Donald Trump. This is one of many such failings to challenge right-wing figures invited onto the programme, who appear to be given a largely unchallenged platform to amplify falsehoods and inaccuracy. I refer also to the censure of the Today programme over coverage of climate change. In our current political climate it is vital that the impartial truth is sought by journalists.
Newspapers, where Ms Sands has worked previously, are not subject to the same editorial standards as the BBC.
Given this background, please could you provide details of BBC News training courses that Ms Sands has attended since joining the BBC, particularly (but not exclusively) with regard to editorial standards, impartiality, and accuracy. Please include dates, durations and the natures of the training.
Thankyou for your assistance. I write out of a long-standing love of, and belief in, the BBC, and a desire to see it continue to be strong and fearless in a quest for truth.
Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 06/03/19. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.
The reference number for your request is RFI20190436.
BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2882
Please find attached our response to your request for information reference RFI20190436.
Information Rights, BBC Legal
BC2A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane, London W12 7TP
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