Child rights NGO wants BBC scribe to name trio that accompanied her to its rescue centre in Kisumu

PRC made the move days after its lawyer wrote a demand letter to BBC

In Summary
  • “Journalists should be concentrating on reporting serious issues like; child trafficking, paedophiles and exploitation, which we (PRC) work tirelessly to tackle."
  • The organisation also demanded that the international media house surrender all video footage and audio clips allegedly recorded by Mortimer and those who had accompanied her to the said rescue centre in Kisumu County on the fateful day.
Project Rescue Children's centre in Nyakach, Kisumu County.
Project Rescue Children's centre in Nyakach, Kisumu County.
Image: HANDOUT

A child rights NGO now wants BBC journalist Hayley Mortimer to name three people who accompanied her to one of its rescue centres at Nyakach in Kisumu County on May 2, 2024.

Project Rescue Children (PRC) on May 14 wrote to Mortimer requesting the trio’s identities which it claims included a foreign woman other than herself.

The organisation’s management alleges that the journalist on the fateful day together with the three unknown persons unlawfully accessed the rescue centre and acquired information without consent.

“PRC had sent an email to Hayley Mortimer requesting the identities of the three unknown individuals who accompanied her during her visit and actions. This group included another foreign woman. To date, she hasn’t responded to this request,” the NGO’s CEO Adam Whittington said.

PRC made the move days after its lawyer wrote a demand letter to BBC directing its journalists from reporting any information from its projects in Kenya.

The organisation also demanded that the international media house surrender all video footage and audio clips allegedly recorded by Mortimer and those who had accompanied her to the said rescue centre in Kisumu County on the fateful day.

Among the demands was also that they surrender all documents allegedly taken by the four from the rescue centre.

BBC had earlier responded to the PRC’s demand letter acknowledging receipt of the claims but declined all its demands contained in the letter.

Whittington termed the journalist’s coverage of PRC’s projects as a witch-hunt demanding that she should be stopped by the relevant Kenyan authorities from accessing its projects and documenting information.

“Does Kenya allow foreign journalists to come on a tourist visa for business purposes and break local laws?,” the CEO poised.

He alleged that on November 25, 2022, Mortimer reached out to him on WhatsApp messenger commending PRC’ great work in Gambia, helping children from trafficking and exploitation.

“She requested doing a story with PRC and BBC about Western paedophiles going to Gambia to sexually abuse children. This was a topic PRC has been fighting with Gambian law enforcement for some years. I declined to do a story with BBC,” Whittington said.

He said Mortimer wanted to have access to PRC’s DarkWeb online team to see their work on infiltrating paedophile websites.

“I declined the request for privacy and security reasons. I then seized communications with her. I had told her not to write or print on anything I discussed with her during the entire period of my interaction,” Whittington said.

Whittington said the journalist knows perfectly well, that PRC does wonderful things for children across Africa, Europe and Asia.

“She has refused to acknowledge or reply to requests of the three people she illegally accompanied her to our Kenyan rescue centre,” he said.

Even as he demands full disclosure of the trio that visited their rescue centre in Kenya, Whittington still calls for objective reporting and adherence to media law and ethics when covering stories.

“These actions are totally against the UK and BBC’s journalism code of conduct. The world needs to know that journalists are not above laws,” Whittington said.

“Journalists should be concentrating on reporting serious issues like; child trafficking, paedophiles and exploitation, which we (PRC) work tirelessly to tackle."

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