The twentieth anniversary of the Bhopal Disaster saw the world’s attention focused on Bhopal once more and, after his visit in 1994 CLICK, Sir Mark Tully returned to Bhopal and recorded a ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ piece for the BBC World Service. In it he explains how new evidence had shown that the Union Carbide pesticide plant was not being run safely and that no precautions had been taken to protect the public in the case of an accident.
He also said: “There’s much more evidence to show that the Bhopal plant was designed by UCC and that the parent company kept a close eye on it right up to the accident; it would have been highly irresponsible for them not to as this was one of only two places they had manufacturing the lethal MIC gas. But Union Carbide continues to blame India and refuses to appear in the Bhopal court hearing the criminal case against it. There is still no international law which can oblige Union Carbide to stand trial. Why?”
He went on to quote Canadian Professor of Law, Jamie Cassels who said in his 1993 book ‘The Uncertain Promise of Law: Lessons from Bhopal’: “A major factor is The unwillingness of the industrialized countries to forego competitive advantages offered by the less developed world.”
Listen to Sir Mark Tully’s 2004 broadcast here: ‘From Our Own Correspondent. Bhopal – 20 Years On’
The BBC also produced an excellent, in-depth documentary ‘One Night in Bhopal’ which can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube: OneNightInBhopal
At the same anniversary, the BBC were also the victim of what has become a legendary media hoax. The BBC reported an incredible news story, in good faith, which turned out to be a prank conducted by the YesMen who had managed to bluff their way on to the BBC News pretending to be speaking on behalf of Dow! ‘Jude Finistere’ the purported Dow spokesman proceeded to explain how they were liquidating Union Carbide and using the funds to put right the mess left behind in Bhopal.
The YesMen stunt has become the stuff of legend and can be viewed online here: YesMen
Sir Mark Tully has recently been in the BBC studios recording a monologue, which will be broadcast on our behalf as the Radio 4 Charity Appeal on Sunday August 21 at 07:55 and 21:26 and then, on the following Thursday 25th at 15:27. Please be sure to tune in!