Fiscal Ditches Proceedings Against Farooq

A journalist who was arrested after she went undercover to investigate the treatment of older people in their homes will not face prosecution.

The procurator fiscal has decided not to proceed against BBC Scotland reporter, Arifa Farooq, for applying for jobs using her sister’s name, as part of an expose of the abuse of older people.

The Panorama documentary she helped to make prompted a Scottish Parliament investigation into the practice of online bidding auctions for homecare contracts.

Earlier this month she was detained and held in a police cell for about an hour (read more – here), in the wake of Panorama's investigation into care providers in South Lanarkshire.

Said BBC Scotland's head of news and current affairs, Atholl Duncan: “We welcome this decision from the fiscal. This case had important implications for investigative journalism and we are pleased that it will not proceed any further.”

The National Union of Journalists were among those campaigning against prosecution.

Said Pete Murray, NUJ vice-president and deputy father of the NUJ chapel at BBC Scotland: “It is an enormous relief for Arifa and her friends and family that the procurator has decided not to take this case forward. Arifa deserved praise for what she did not persecution.

“The Panorama programme was a classic example of investigative journalism at its best. It is important that journalists are able to go undercover when a story they are investigating is serious enough to warrant it.”

Comment: The obvious necessity of this kind of work is shown by the Scottish parliament's subsequent investigation. While there should never have been any threat of prosecution, Arifa and her BBC and NUJ colleagues deserve our praise for their resolute defence of quality journalism. Rich Simcox

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