20 September 2007 Edition

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BBC editor resigns from RAF post

A BBC editor has resigned his post within the British military after Sinn Féin raised conflict of interest concerns. RAF wing commander Mike Cairns resigned as OC 7644 VR Squadron after Sinn Féin complained that his work as a public relations officer for the RAF was incompatible with his job as a high-ranking BBC editor.
Following Sinn Féin's complaint the BBC confirmed Mike Cairns who worked in news-gathering in the BBC had resigned from the RAF reserve. The corporation dismissed the notion of conflict of interest with the claim that its employee had no “responsibility” for the coverage of defence.
Sinn Féin's Paul Maskey described the issue as a clear conflict of interest. “Mike Cairns’ two jobs were completely incompatible. The news that a high ranking BBC official has also been a commanding officer in the Royal Auxilary Air Forces’ public relations squadron since 2004 has caused outrage within my constituency,” said the West Belfast MLA.
Following a complaint by Sinn Féin the issue of ‘double jobbing’ is currently being investigated by the six counties BBC controller.

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