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Panorama and North Korea: statement from the British Academy and the Royal Society

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The following statement was issued today by Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy, and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society:

“The making of the Panorama programme on North Korea raises serious issues about the credibility and security of UK academics working overseas when in highly sensitive circumstances. The ability of academics to work, study and carry out research around the world is hugely dependent on trust and respect for their integrity, and it is vital that this trust is not undermined. Research is a global activity with people working across borders for the good of people of all nations.

“While undercover reporting plays an important role in investigative journalism, these issues do not appear to have been properly considered by the BBC in making its risk assessment. The British Academy and the Royal Society would be happy to contribute to discussion of how risk assessment of this sort, and the ethical issues involved, can be strengthened in future.”

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