EbolaGate 2014: The BBC Confirms in Complaint Case That Epicenter of Outbreak “Miraculously Remained Free of Ebola So Far”

EbolaGate 2014: The BBC Confirms in Complaint Case That Epicenter of Outbreak “Miraculously Remained Free of Ebola So Far”

September 26, 2014

Yet another jaw dropping development in the EbolaGate scandal.

As I have reported to you earlier about the BBC claiming, twice, that the very epicenter of the fraudulent and alleged ebola outbreak had/has remained free of ebola “so far,” the BBC now confirms this once again.

After stumbling on the initial two BBC reports I contacted the BBC Complaints Office through the BBC website in order to get a clarification on the matter, whether or not the epicenter had/has remained ebola-free.

On September 12, 2014, I received a confirmation from the BBC that my complaint had been received and that case number CAS-2915640-DHS0H4 had been assigned to it and hereby had been opened.


Dear Mr Jacobs

Thanks for contacting the BBC. This is an automated email acknowledging that we’ve received the attached complaint sent in this name. We’ve attached the case reference and text of the complaint for your records (see below).

We’ll normally include the full text of your complaint to BBC staff in the overnight reports we compile for them about the complaints and other reaction we’ve received today (with all your personal details removed). This ensures it will reach the right people quickly tomorrow morning. We’ll then aim to reply to you within 10 working days, or around 2 weeks, but it also depends on the nature of your complaint and whether the relevant people can respond to us in time.

We aim to use your licence fee as efficiently as we can, so if you complained about the same issues as others we will send our response to you and everyone. For the same reason we may not investigate or reply in great detail if a complaint doesn’t suggest a potential breach of BBC standards, or a significant issue of general importance. You can read about our full complaints procedures and how we consider issues which people raise with us at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle-complaint/.

This acknowledgment is automatically generated from an unmonitored address so please don’t reply. If you think you’ve received this in error please contact us using our webform at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints, quoting your case reference number.

Here are the details of your complaint:



Complaint Summary: ebola guinea

Full Complaint: Dear BBC, As a response to 2 recent BBC articles about ebola in which you quote Alhassan Sillah I would like to ask you for a clarification in this specific matter. This is the sentence from the BBC articles that my question is about: – the BBC’s Alhassan Sillah in Guinea says the town has miraculously remained free of Ebola so far. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28983554 The town in this case being Gueckedou. However, the exact same sentence appears in yet another BBC article: – the BBC’s Alhassan Sillah in Guinea says the town has miraculously remained free of Ebola so far. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28984259 The town in this case being the city of Nzerekore Is it possible to please clarify what the actual situation is in Gueckedou / Nzerekore in relation to ebola cases? Sincerely, Koen Jacobs


Thank you again for contacting us,

BBC Complaints team


On September 20, 2014, the BBC sent me another automated e-mail stating that a reply to my complaint would require more than 10 working days.


Your Reference CAS-2915640-DHS0H4

Thanks for recently contacting the BBC. We aim to reply to complaints within 10 working days (around 2 weeks) and do so for most of them but cannot for all. The time taken depends on the nature of your complaint, how many others we are dealing with and can also be affected by practical issues such as whether a production team is available or away on location.

This is to let you know that we have referred your complaint to the relevant staff but that it may take longer than 10 working days to reply. We therefore ask you not to contact us further in the meantime. If it does prove necessary however, please use our webform, quoting any reference number we provided. This is an automatic email sent from an account which is not monitored so you cannot reply to this email address.

In order to use the licence fee efficiently we may not investigate every issue if it does not suggest a substantive breach of guidelines, or may send the same reply to everyone if others have complained about the same issue. You can read full details of our complaints procedures and how we consider the issues raised in feedback at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle-complaint/. In the meantime we’d like to thank you for contacting us with your concerns. We appreciate your patience in awaiting a response.

Kind regards,

BBC Complaints.


Eventually, today September 26, 2014, I received the BBC their final response to my complaint and it is quite clear that they do not argue about whether or not the area has/had been free of ebola.

So, from my point of view and considering all the evidence and findings I have gathered so far, the BBC their reconfirmation in this specific matter shows that indeed the Nzerekore region – the FIRST epicenter – is/was ebola-free.

For the record, Gueckedou is located in the Nzerekore region of Guinea.


Dear Mr Jacobs

Reference CAS-2915640-DHS0H4

Thanks for contacting us regarding the BBC News website.

I understand you believe two reports on the Ebola outbreak offered confusing details about whether Gueckedou or Nzerekore have been free of Ebola.

Having looked at the first report titled ‘Ebola: Guineans riot in Nzerekore over disinfectant’ dated ‘29 August 2014 Last updated at 13:46’, this was reporting on a riot that took place there and stated that Nzerekore was so far free of Ebola.

The second report titled ‘Ebola outbreak: Senegal confirms first case’ dated ‘29 August 2014 Last updated at 21:28’ was reporting on Senegal confirming the first case. This second report then offered a smaller piece of information on the riot in Nzerekore and in referencing where the riot took place also stated that it had miraculously remained free of Ebola so far.

Both reports are reporting on Nzerekore, the first one focusing on the rioting that took place and the second offering a smaller recap of the rioting. Gueckedou was mentioned as being close to Nzerekore but the report wasn’t focused on Gueckedou or mention it again in any other context.

We value your feedback about this issue. All complaints are sent to senior management and news teams every morning and I included your points in this overnight report.

These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes.

Once again, thank you for contacting us.

Kind Regards

Philip Young

BBC Complaints

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