tv The Media Show BBC News January 30, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm GMT
through the end he decided to push through the pain barrier. it worked spectacularly and is now the australian open champion again. this was no ordinary match. this was an epic two epic match. i guess a man ten years younger than him. yes. ten years younger than him. yes, nearly five _ ten years younger than him. yes, nearly five and _ ten years younger than him. yes, nearly five and a _ ten years younger than him. yes, nearly five and a half— ten years younger than him. yes, nearly five and a half hours. - ten years younger than him. yes, nearly five and a half hours. it. nearly five and a half hours. it finished at 11 minutes past one in the morning. it was the first time anybody in modern times is come back from two sets to walk down the australian open final. medvedev was a player to beat once we knew that novak djokovic wasn't going to be allowed to play. he won the u.s. open in september, his allowed to play. he won the us open in september, his world of two, he's been phenomenally successful on hard courts. it was a truly exceptional performance by the doll. i think we have to have a lot of sympathy for medvedev to, he was treated poorly by the crowd. he was booed when he walked out, there a lot of applause between his first and second serves after he put a first serve into the night. and he said says that he thought it was disrespectful. he started his news conference with a very long
monologue about his journey in the sport. and what he was saying quite clearly was that today was the day for him, that part of that dream die. ~ . . ,., for him, that part of that dream die. ~ . ., , ~ die. what about d'okovic? at the very beginning _ die. what about d'okovic? at the very beginning of — die. what about djokovic? at the very beginning of this _ die. what about djokovic? at the very beginning of this we - die. what about djokovic? at the very beginning of this we were i very beginning of this we were talking so much about him and it ended up with him being deported and other circumstances he could've been the one getting the grand slam. yes, he would very much have been the favorite. he is already sent a message of congratulations to rafael nadal congratulating him on his amazing achievement of fighting spirit for the roger federer another player who's been on the tour for a while and then off injury and for himself his heart felt calm two congratulations to his rival a good friend. know that djokovic is still perhaps a player who may finish with the most grand slams out of this trio. he's a year younger than the doll and you would think that he would have longer left to play given the fact that nadal has had so many injury problems throughout his
career. �* . ., �* injury problems throughout his career. �* �* , injury problems throughout his career. �* �* ., career. but he couldn't play at the australian open, _ career. but he couldn't play at the australian open, i— career. but he couldn't play at the australian open, i don't _ career. but he couldn't play at the australian open, i don't think - career. but he couldn't play at the australian open, i don't think is i australian open, i don't think is going to change his stance on vaccination so it could be problematic with him to play many tournaments certainly over the course of 2022. the next grand slam in paris in may, who knows what the vaccination requirements will be for players than?— let mejust bring let me just bring you some breaking news coming out to us from greater manchester. a man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of rape and assault after manchester united suspended mason greenwood. the police said they were made aware videos purporting to show physical and sexual violence, and a man in his 20s has subsequently been arrested on suspicion of rape and
assault. much more on that throughout the evening. now on bbc news, it's time for the media show with katie razzall. hello. a major trial will take place this year in the us. you'll remember the story behind it. el shafee elsheikh is accused of being a member of the islamic state group and of being one of the notorious is beatles. so named by their hostages because of their british accents and accused of torturing and beheading journalists and aid workers. itv news' rohit kachroo secured interviews with el shafee elsheikh and another man before they were transferred into us custody. those interviews are to form part of the trial. so, what are the ethics of interviewing some of the members of a terror group? is it ever ok to give what amounts to be publicity to people accused of such serious crimes? and how you even go about doing it? welcome to the media show, and let's start right
at beginning of the story. who were the is beatles and when did you first come across them? everyone will remember years ago, 2014, 2015, the rise, the rapid rise of islamic state group, isis. and the fact that they started this process of taking western hostages. but then not only were we hearing the news about it, but we were seeing video of it. this group was filming the executions by beheading, and they were posting these in stylised propaganda videos online. it became clear that there was a group here of four british men who some of the hostages referred to as the beatles because there were four of them, because of their british accents. and what we knew was that one of the figures, who turned out to be a leading figure, was this man had been mysteriously referred to as "jihadi john" but people didn't who he was.
we knew that the authorities in the uk and the us had a fairly good idea who he was. we, like many organisations, set out to try to identify them and actually the first scoop went to the washington post, which reported around the same time as lucy manning at the bbc the name ofjihadijohn as mohammed emwazi. you did make it your mission to identify some of the others. how did you do it? who did you identify? how did you track them down? piecing together rumours that different people had heard. here in london, but also out in syria. things that were being said in the corridors in whitehall and these names kept recurring. alexanda kotey, el shafee elsheikh. we talked at length to some of the hostages who were released. we tried to find pictures to show them. at one point, we found an old dating
website profile for alexanda kotey. there were a lot ofjournalists looking at this, and it was a really difficult process. this may be a ridiculous question based on what was going on in the country and how dangerous it was, but once you identified them, were you trying to make contact with them? is it possible to make contact with someone from is? do they have a press office? can they put someone up for interview? i know it's highly unlikely. there is no press office for islamic state group. there were routes into the group. you know, for example, many people who left their own homes, who left their own countries to go out there were in contact with their families back home. what became clear pretty early on was that these men weren'tjust sort of roaming around the shops, you know, they weren'tjust strolling around the street in raqqa saying hello to people in the cafe. these were protected people, so protected they were conscious of their digital footprint, they were conscious of their location.
because, remember, you know, the uk government wanted to track them down. and actuallyjihadi john, mohammed emwazi, was eventually killed by a drone strike, and they knew that they were wanted men. so, we had no direct contact with them. the next thing that happened was that, mysteriously, suddenly they turned up in a kurdish prison. just before we get into the detail of how you then met two of them, just let's talk about the victims and their families. you know, just remind us who were the victims. these were largely aid workers and journalists. they were people who had gone out to syria to do good things. in the case of people like james foley, the american journalist, he went out there to tell the stories of suffering in syria. and also aid workers, people like david haines from perth in scotland, who had gone out to syria to help people.
they all left behind these families, including here in the uk and several in the us as well. and families you made contact with. why did you do that? i know, i can see obviously it adds a human element, but i think there are also risks involved. do you worry about re—traumatising people, about asking families to live, relive what must have been the worst experiences of their lives? yeah, we asked ourselves and have asked ourselves over the last five, six years almost every possible ethical question in journalism. the first family member who we had regular contact with was the daughter of david haines, bethany haines, who was incredibly young at the time. she was at school. she was a teenager when her father was taken hostage. and actually some of those early contacts came, you know, on a very basic level because we were seeking comment on events that were happening, including, for example,
the moment thatjihadijohn, mohammed emwazi, was killed by a drone strike. we wanted to know what people thought, what people who were directly affected thought. you know, that was a sort of legitimate journalistic exercise. but over the years, i think we've become closer to many of them. let's get into a bit more of the detail about the interviews that you then got. i think you had several. can you just quickly sum up who you spoke to and when? so, we interviewed el shafee elsheikh and alexanda kotey. these were the two members of the so—called is beatles who were then later transferred to the united states. you know, getting interviews with these people was not easy. word came back early on, i'm not sure if this is true, that kotey didn't want to give an interview to itv news. and the suggestion was because
of our role in putting his name out there in the first place, he had particular reticence in terms of speaking to us. what changed his mind? did you hear? well, i'm not sure. we went to north—east syria seeking to do other stories. so when you went out there, you didn't know you're getting interview with him? no, we did not. no, we went out there with bethany haines, the daughter of david haines, the murdered aid worker, and the reason we were there was because we wanted to follow her journey. she had this invitation from the kurdish authorities to go and to see some of the locations that were significant in her father's story. because although his execution site has never been officially located, one estimate says it was near here. she has studied the landscape in his execution video so many times before, and finally she's now here. she can't be certain, but this does look familiar.
it would definitely be the hills with the tracks because that's really evident in the video that there's a track going down behind him. it makes you just want to go off and try and find him, which is something that i can't do. but to know it's somewhere out there, it does provide a bit of comfort. we were there, we got essentially a tap on the shoulder by the kurdish authorities. we were given the opportunity to meet elsheikh and kotey. and without going into too much detail, what did they say to you in those interviews? well, i went in with the specific aim of asking questions on behalf of bethany. they had done interviews with cnn, with aptn and with the washington post about their journey, about their story. you know, we were mindful of the fact that we had perhaps only 15 minutes to talk to them. and at that point,
they were very clear that they were innocent, right? because i understand that since alexanda kotey has changed his plea. yeah, well, innocent... sort of innocent with caveats, i think you might say. they admitted in that conversation that they had... what they termed as a peripheral role, that they were, you know, elsheikh said he was driving the van, so i asked specific questions about david haines. what sort of answers are you able to offer bethany? i can't answer specific questions. i can only offer answers - to things which i witnessed. as for the execution _ and the remains, i'm afraid i can't offer any answers to those questions cos i don't have any— knowledge of it. he said his role was to take hostages from place to place. did you move david haines from place to place? i moved a bunch of prisoners. what about david haines?
he could have been amongst them. you don't remember? when you're driving a van, you don't do a headcount. | it is not yourjob. yourjob is to drive a van. so you would drive a van which included some of the hostages? yeah. and where were you driving from and to? wherever they told me. for both of them, they became quite confrontational. alexanda kotey particularly. i already had made... forget what you said before. i'm asking you, will you apologise to bethany haines? i won't forget everything i've said before because ijust find it... will you apologise to bethany haines? i find your line of questioning irritating. will you apologise to her? apologise. .. to bethany haines? i think i've already said that. no, you haven't. maybe it didn't get broadcast maybe. alexanda kotey said that we were doing this interview purely for entertainment and he didn't want to give
itv the opportunity to have an entertainment show, which felt like an unusual admission, because actually before those conversations took place, you know, i had a pre—conversation where i looked each of them in the eye and i said, "do you want to do this interview?" you know, we hadn't gone to north—east syria with the idea of doing a conversation with these people. you know, if they turned around and said, "no, we don't want to do this," we were more than prepared to get up and walk out the room. and coming in, you know, we had a group with our editor here, our head of news—gathering, head of foreign news that we were updating them on every single thing that happened, but you know, at no point to any of the people say, "listen, you've got to get the interview." and... but they had to sign it off? bbc, other institutions have very strict rules on this about interview of criminals? absolutely, yeah. and actually, you know, i was always mindful of the fact
that whatever happened in that room could subsequently be used in a court of law, this may well be scrutinised by a jury at some point in the future. so, how high up did the sign—off have to be? at what level did it go? did it go up to, i don't know, the likes of who's soon to come to the bbc, but is now head of itn? yeah, this was signed off by the editor, it was signed off by senior managers at itv as well. and part of the conversation around that was what happened in the room? for example, there were armed kurdish guards inside that room. it's a prison. perhaps that's not surprising, but one of the things me and the producer and the cameraman turned around and said to the kurdish supervisor was they cannot be in here. you know, i'm not going to do an interview with an armed man from a militia group standing behind me almost guarding this conversation. explain to audiences why you're worried about that.
you know, we didn't want to have conversations with people that were leading news at ten and we are making a big splash of with people who had been mistreated or people who we knew had been forced to give the interviews that they gave. the answers that they gave to us in our conversations. there were four of us from itv news. there was a senior producer, a middle east producer, who has covered conflict zones and the sorts of areas quite a lot. we had a senior cameraman, markjervis, who covers violence in belfast, and we had our well plugged—in local producer, what some would call the local fixer. we were all in this room and we had the conversation and we made the call there and then on the ground. our internet connection was slipping away, you know, we didn't have the opportunity at the last moment to just get a double—check from the editor. but i think they trusted us to make the right decision and i'm really
confident that we did make the right decision. and i know now in the trial of elsheikh that that issue of those media interviews and the ethics around some of those conversations will play quite differently. of those conversations will play quite significantly. yeah, and we'll talk about the trial in a moment. just to summarise, if you wouldn't mind, what you think came out of your specific interviews with those two men? what did they say? well, alexanda kotey admitted for the first time in one of our interviews that he played some sort of role. in previous conversations, he pretty much said i had nothing to do with this. but in that first interview that we did in 2019, he said, "yeah, you know, i was peripherally involved," as he termed it, but he actually admitted that he was sending proof of life e—mails, e—mails which i've read now from the other side, from the families of the victims, he was sending proof of life e—mails to families particularly in united states demanding ransoms from the family of one of the hostages. he was in touch with her family.
her elderly parents in arizona, demanding that they pay or that they raise millions and millions of euros to pay a ransom in order to secure the release of their daughter. so, he admitted for the first time publicly that in our first interview. and he has since pleaded guilty, hasn't he? he has since pleaded guilty and admitted all charges in the united states. our final conversation with el shafee elsheikh and alexanda kotey had a slightly different aim. we were there with the story of one person in mind, the family of david haines. and we thought that it would be a legitimate and an important editorial exercise to try to seek
from him the truth. if he had it, if either of these men had it about what happened to this british hostage who was killed on camera. and, you know, he admitted to some things, but he still said, "listen, i don't know the details." it's now turned out that in his interviews with us interrogators, which happened around the same time, it's now been revealed in court that in fact he did give specific details about the death of david haines. and so that was the importance of the interviews. for alexanda kotey, he sort of shouted at me and said, "i don't like your line of questioning," and he said, "you're just here to create entertainment." you know... were you? no, no, we really weren't. and actually, you know, it's a typical difficult line it's a difficult line to tread because you know that these conversations necessarily have to be, at the very least, slightly confrontational. what would you say to her
about what's happened to her father? i've already said what i had to say, i haven't got anything else to add. what would you say to bethany haines about what happened her father? i've already said what i have to say. she wants to know where the remains of her father are. i'm the wrong person to ask. if i had information about that, then we wouldn't be sitting here having this discussion, 50... and we knew, we knew through all of this that at some point the police would want that material. which is a difficult ethical journalistic question. because they have, you know, increased powers under the terrorism act to seek material that they feel can help a terrorist investigation. and, look, we've been here before.
we've gone to court to not hand over the rushes, the un—broadcast material of an interview that i did with shamima begum because we didn't feel that the line had been crossed. ok, but you are... sorry to interrupt, but you are in the business of making television, so just tell me how you turned it into television. where were you putting it out? was it news at ten, was it trailed? what we ended up doing was running a three—part series which led news at ten. on the first night, we ran for eight minutes, which is fairly almost unprecedented in itv news terms and news bulletin terms. we ran an eight—minute film which charted herjourney to syria, which talked about her feelings about going there. you know... including the interviews or not? no, it did not. we held that for the following night. and then we trailed that at the end of our story on news at ten that night. and then the following nights, we returned on news at ten with our conversation off the back
of our story with bethany, which naturally followed on. and, look, it was... it was gripping television, people said, but... and also a great business presumably for itv, which is a commercial entity, after all. i can't say we made a penny out of it. i guess it's good for us in terms of our... we're here to tell stories and we're here to tell them well and we're here to tell stories the bbc aren't telling and channel 4 news are not telling or sky aren't telling. you know, there's no money to be made on an assignment like that. in fact, these things are expensive. there is only a lot of money to be lost. you touched earlier on the ethics, but clearly there were some major ethical questions. is it ethical to interview
a member of is at all? are you humanising or potentially whitewashing what they did? what do you think about that? one of the things that changed the dynamic was that by this point, by early autumn of 2019, we had passed the territorial defeat of is. they no longer had a so—called caliphate. they were no longer on the rise. there was no stream of british people. you can remember several years ago, there were hundreds of people from the uk that were going out tojoin is. that was no longer happening. and so, as a consequence of that, this question of whether we were giving the oxygen of publicity to a group like that felt like it was less of a concern, but because of that, because of those concerns, it was all the more important for me to be robust in my questioning. it was an exercise in seeking brand—new information to make our reporting better, to make our viewers better informed.
can ijust ask you to bring us up to the present, if you like? there if this trial about to start in america. just tell us who is accused and how are they pleading. well, el shafee elsheikh is the fourth member of this, alleged fourth member of this cell. he was brought to the us at the same time as alexanda kotey, and he says he's not guilty. kotey pleaded guilty a few weeks ago. and he says he's not guilty. elsheikh didn't do the same thing, and actually as part of kotey�*s plea deal, he will not be compelled to testify against his old friend, el shafee elsheikh. so, he is accused of being involved in the kidnap, the holding hostage and the killing of... it's the american hostages
who appear on the charge sheet. because it's an american trial. exactly, it's an american trial in an american court. and your interviews are being used along with those from the washington post, sky, various other organisations. can you explain what those interviews are being used for? firstly, these were the last interviews done with them in kurdish custody. and what the defence is saying is that they were mistreated, that food was withheld. what the prosecution is saying is actually this interview shows how they looked just days before they were transferred to us custody, and their argument is actually they look like they're in good health and in good shape. but there's another important part which the prosecution want to draw out, which is comparing what elsheikh told me in our conversation in september 2019 and what he was telling american interrogators. because it's different. exactly. ok, so, that trial will start soon. before we end this conversation, let's have a think about the bigger picture in a sense. we're in the middle of a global pandemic right now. these crimes took place
quite a long time ago. i think david haines was murdered in 2014. how much coverage do you expect the british media to give the trial? is there still the interest that there was? it's a really, really interesting question, and i hope there is significant coverage because, you know, we move on from things so quickly, don't we? the news cycle churns. absolutely. i mean, i was looking through material from the time that jihadi john was killed the other day. you know, it was david cameron making that statement, and... quite a few prime ministers since then. yeah, absolutely. i mean, there are very, very few more serious allegations that have been made against people who were raised in the uk. important because, you know, the importance to their victims who still have to endure the torment and the torture and the agony, and still don't know where their loved ones' remains are. but important to all of us as a society, as a country, really,
to try and understand why this happened. i mean, you know, we canjust sort of dismiss these cases as one—offs, but they're not one—offs. i mean, here was a cell of four people who operated within a vast infrastructure within is. and then there were hundreds of british people who decided, many of them, perhaps most of them, knowing full well the reality of life in is, that actually it would be a good thing to go and live there. so, you know, i hope that this trial reopens a window perhaps in people's thoughts into the story of this organisation. and most importantly into the story of its victims. rohit kachroo, global security editor at itv news, thank you so much forjoining us today. the media show will be back at the same time next week, but for now,
thanks for listening and goodbye. hello. barely 2a hours after storm malik, we're now staring down the barrel of another deepening weather system, storm corrie, set to bring damaging winds across a large swathe of northern britain overnight sunday into monday. these are the areas highlighted by the met office for the greatest risk of damage and disruption. northern scotland sitting underan amberwarning, winds could gust in excess of 80 miles per hour here as this deep, low pressure rolls its way initially eastwards across scotland overnight and then dives down into the north sea. skies will tend to clear behind corrie. cold air rushes in — a frost with a risk of some ice for northern england and scotland early on on monday. and then, even with corrie pulling away that northerly or north
this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. nato's secretary general says it's up to russia to decide whether to pursue a diplomatic approach to ukraine, or one of confrontation. we report from the frontline in eastern ukraine, where government forces, are fighting russian backed separatists. this is about more than the future of ukraine. it's about the future shape of nato, about the security of europe. battle lines are being drawn now in a new cold war. battle lines are being drawn now in a new cold war. rafael nadal makes history with grand slam 21 — after an amazing comeback in melbourne. here in the uk, storm malik leaves thousands of homes without power, across scotland and northern england.