Primark - on the rack


Date: 2008 (first broadcast on BBC TV on 23 June)

Type: Documentary film (59 minutes)

Reporter: Tom Heap Producer: Frank Simmonds Associate producer: Dan McDougall

Production company: BBC

Availability: online (35 minutes free on YouTube here) and via subscribing libraries (full documentary on Box of Broadcasts here)

Page Reference: Adley, K., Keeble, R., Russell, P., Stenholm, N., Strang, W. & Valo, T. (2013) Primark: on the rack. ( last accessed <insert date here>)

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Primark - on the rack

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You're a mum-of-three who needs to buy new summer clothes for the kids - and the credit crunch is biting. But do you consider the working conditions of those making the clothes? What's the true cost of £1.50 T-shirts to the world's poorest people? And as prices soar, and your salary is worth less each month, can you really afford to care? This week, yet another High Street chain has been caught selling clothes made by slave-labour kids in India (Source: Fletcher 2008 np link).

The BBC Panorama programme, ‘Primark: On the Rack’, was an interesting expose of the informal goings-on in the company’s supply chain in Southern India. It built on the BBC3 recent series ‘Blood, Sweat and T-shirts’ (Source: Barbour 2008 np link).

[In their stores, Primark] flags up their ethical commitment, which means fair working hours, a living wage and no child labour. All very reassuring. But now we’re going to do what shoppers like our friends with the sequined dress can’t do and actually put that to the test (Source: McDougall in Panorama 2008 np link).

Last night, the BBC showed secret footage of how work on Primark garments had been outsourced to third parties in Southern India that used both home and child labour - both against Primark's ethical code (Source: Anon 2008a np).

Footage was shown of some of India's poorest people working long hours on Primark clothes in slum workshops and refugee camps, far away from the Primark-approved and inspected factories, breaking promises on child labour, working hours and wages (Source: Sandison 2008 np link).

BBC's Panorama programme showed how youngsters as young as nine earning as little as 19p a day were being exploited to produce clothing in India. ... Shocking footage showed how some of India's poorest people, including children, work long, gruelling hours for poverty pay on Primark clothes in slum workshops and even refugee camps for Sri Lankans. According to the expose, the extracurricular working was taking place far away from the Primark-approved and inspected factories, allegedly breaking Primark promises on child labour, working hours and wages (Source: Williams 2008 p.3 link).

In 2005, Primark was voted the most unethical retailer in the UK according to research conducted by Ethical Consumer Magazine ... The BBC programme Panorama (June 2008) denounced some of Primark’s business practices. The BBC reported on the treatment received by labourers working in Primark’s suppliers including the employment of illegal child labour (Source: Jones et al 2009, p.933 link).

Modern Indian slaves were the subject of the Panorama programme, Primark on the Rack (BBC1). Primark, founded in Mary Street, Dublin as Penneys, and still trading here under that name, now owns 177 stores in Ireland, Britain and Spain with high volume sales of 'fast' fashion. The company claims that over two million people in the developing world depend on Primark. It's a huge business and with work contracted to low-wage economies such as India's, meeting enormous orders may put suppliers under pressure to sub-contract to places where no work inspectors go. In the main case investigated by Panorama, this work went to impoverished Sri Lankan refugees in a camp near Tiruppur in southern India from which even the United Nations is banned by the government. There, a middleman named Anthony, posing under a picture of the Sacred Heart, said of its child workers: 'It depends on how talented they are, but a ten-year-old or older can do this work.’ Tom Heap's report moved from Penneys in Dublin to the British high street, where Primark is the major source of cheap and cheerful fashion and is almost an obsession with young women. An apparent mania for beads and sequins calls for huge amounts of hand-sewing and, in the case of three factories, work was sub-contracted and was being done by children. This is contrary to the Penneys / Primark code of ethics (Source: Anon 2008a np).

A number of shocked Primark customers watched in astonishment the videotapes showing child labour working on the very clothes they kept in their wardrobe drawers. The children were obviously recruited and organised by local contractors (Source: Mezzadri 2011 np link).

[In] Primark: On the Rack ... Panorama puts Primark's claims that it can deliver cheap, fast fashion without breaking ethical guidelines to the test. Posing as industry buyers in India, the programme's reporter Tom Heap and his team find some of India's poorest people working long, gruelling hours on Primark clothes in slum workshops and refugee camps ... These were far away from the Primark approved and inspected factories; breaking promises on child labour, working hours and wages (Source: Anon 2008ai np link).

It showed clearly that Primark was not in compliance with its own ethical guidelines; that children were undeniably being used in the making of some Primark goods; and that Primark sacked a number of suppliers when the findings were brought to their attention (Source: BBC news spokesperson in Robinson 2010 p.3 link).

... though I haven't watched Panorama (or any BBC current affairs output) in twenty years, other than for a few seconds by accident of channel hopping, by sheer chance I flipped onto this one and was rapidly hooked. I thought it was an excellent show, both at the serious level and by way of accidental humour. At the serious level, although the essential theme was the usual anti-capitalist drivel, I was surprised and delighted that on a couple of occasions the journalist actually asked out loud whether it was possible that all this cheap labour, including the child labour, might not actually be good for the workers, in that it helped put food on the table. Obviously such appalling ideas were rapidly dismissed as absurd, but it was genuinely surprising that such thoughts were uttered at all on the BBC. I found it strangely uplifting, as if the journalist could dimly discern that the whole rationale for his campaigning programme was absurd, but couldn't quite see why. As for humour, there was a delightful bit where the journo asked some Indian lefty something along the lines mentioned above - ie might not this actually be good for the families, even if we might not like it - and got the splendidly precious response ‘But it's illegal!’ along with theatrically raised eyebrows. Cut to the next scene, where the journalist is creeping up on a refugee camp to film some appalling act of capitalism, whispering the words ‘the Indian government doesn't allow filming here, but we're hoping to get some footage’ (Source: LeeMoore 2011 np link).

Primark: On The Rack ... investigated whether the firm could make cheap clothing without breaking ethical guidelines and included footage said to show three boys in a Bangalore workshop testing stitching in Primark clothes (Source: Anon 2011a np link).

‘Primark on the Rack’ ... claimed to show three young boys being used to manufacture clothes sold in Primark (Source: Primark 2011a np link).

The scenes were said to have shown the youngsters inspecting vest-tops and making sure 'sequins don't end up falling off in the hands of customers back in Britain' (Source: Revoir 2011 np link).

Inspiration / Process / Technique / Methodology

Primark: On the Rack [was] the result of a six-month investigation (Source: Williams 2008 p.3 link).

Working for The Observer over the past three years, I have helped expose several of the world's major retailers: Otto-Heine, the largest online fashion retailer in Europe; Esprit, the world's fifth largest clothing store; and Gap Inc, one of the most iconic modern brands, all for employing children. Each firm, without its knowledge, had used Indian contractors with scant regard for the consequences of subcontracting. In the maze of narrow, mud-bricked lanes that form the spine of Delhi or Bangalore's poorest market areas, outsiders are highly conspicuous. The tightly packed buildings and heavily secured basements make it difficult to detect what goes on behind closed doors. Some of the units were hidden behind trapdoors, one was in a half-demolished building reached only by a rope ladder. Runners and watchmen are everywhere, protecting illicit drinking dens, brothels and sweatshops. Carrying out an Observer investigation into child labour last year, I was badly beaten for being found inside a sweatshop in the lawless Haryana state border area of northern India. An angry mob chased me through the ancient alleyways, a no man's land for foreigners and police. They smashed photographic equipment and threatened to kill my translator, who had his eardrum perforated in the attack. According to Bhuwan Ribhu, lawyer with the Global March Against Child Labour, which has had activists murdered by sweatshop gangsters, the fight to expose child labour is increasingly dangerous for both journalists and activists. This, he claims, is one of the key reasons many big names in fashion escape international exposure. 'What consumers need to understand is it is an impossible task to track down all of these terrible sweatshops and factories employing children, particularly in the garment industry when you need little more than a basement or an attic crammed with children to make a healthy profit. The police have to rely on rare tip-offs because it is difficult to track down child workers. Even before the search parties get to the factories the owners are tipped off and many of the children are cleared out,' he said. 'More daring unit owners even hide the children in sacks and in carefully concealed mezzanine floors designed to dodge such raids. We have lost a number of activists, murdered in the course of their duties. Others have been dragged in chains behind cars.' Now, after a seven-month undercover investigation into India's sweatshop misery for Panorama , Primark is added to the growing hall of shame of retailers proven to have had children making their clothes (Source: McDougall 2008a p.22 link).

A BBC Panorama team, whose documentary will be screened tomorrow at 9pm, used hidden cameras to expose the scandal at one of Primark's major suppliers, Fab and Fabric, in the Indian textile city of Tirapur. One local boss boasted they'd supplied more than TWO MILLION garments to Primark over the last two years. But the British cut-price clothing chain never suspected Fab and Fabric were sub-contracting work to middlemen who employed kids at Bhavanisagar refugee camp, 36 miles from Tirapur (Source: McDougall 2008b np link).

The key chronology of events in the making of the programme ... was as follows:
6 November 2007 – First meeting between the Editor of the programme and the Journalist to discuss ideas for a programme.
November 2007 – The decision is made to look at child labour in India and how it relates to the UK high street.
14-23 December 2007 –Journalist’s first trip to India: He travelled to Bangalore in southern India posing as a garment buyer visiting workshops to see how obvious any outsourcing of work might be. During this trip, he visited the workshop, where the Bangalore footage was later filmed, on two different days. He filmed on both occasions.
17-27 February 2008 – The Journalist’s second trip to India: 17-21 February 2008 – Delhi
21-25 February 2008 – Tirupur (including Pollachi)
23 February – In a refugee camp on the outskirts of Tirupur, the Journalist films two children working on the Complainant’s garments.
24 February – In Pollachi, the Journalist finds the Complainant’s sequinned vest tops outsourced to home workers.
25-26 February 2008 – Bangalore
25 February – The Bangalore footage is filmed by the Journalist. This footage shows three children working on the same type of sequinned vest tops which had been filmed in Pollachi.
March 2008 – The decision to make the programme.
April 2008 – The Journalist, Presenter, Producer and a cameraman travel to India to complete the filming for the programme.
7 May 2008 – Complainant first notified of allegations intended to be made in the programme (right of reply process).
June 2008 – The decision to make an hour long programme.
23 June 2008 – Broadcast of the programme (Source: BBC Trust 2011 p.14-15 link).

Hundreds of protestors demonstrated outside Primark's London office on Monday accusing the clothing firm of behaving irresponsibly. The outsourcing in Indian subcontinent by the UK fashion firms for cheap clothes has ignited a debate on corporate social responsibility and consumer ethics. Activists have urged the UK Government to take action on child labour after Primark fired three of its Indian suppliers who used children. The suppliers had sub-contracted smaller firms, which were using child labour to carry out embroidery and sequin work. The protest was organised by charity War on Want, ahead of the investigative BBC programme The Panorama, which will air its film, Primark on the rack Monday night. Panorama exposed Primark's suppliers in India after a six-month under cover investigation there (Source: Anon 2008c np).

UK bargain fashion retailer Primark has talked down an alleged demonstration outside its flagship store in central London ahead of tonight's much-talked about BBC Panorama documentary ‘Primark: On the Rack’. ... Primark said that only 12 protesters took part in today's demonstration (Source: Ayling 2008 np).

According to the BBC, the programme was put into the schedule earlier than planned after statements from Primark referring to its content appeared in the press. Primark's public statements were a response to questions put to the company by the corporation, it said (Source: Dowell 2008 np link).

Discussion / Responses

Instead of accepting the BBC’s invitation to answer the accusations levelled against them, Primark decided to go to the web and talk directly to their clients thus bypassing the mass media channel. They built a micro-site to answer the BBC’s negative exposure and sought to address and assure consumers directly in a web-only strategy. This site was launched at the same time that the BBC programme went on air (Source: Jones et al 2009 p.933 link).

The budget clothing chain was invited to appear on the programme, but the firm's comms chief Geoff Lancaster said he did not feel the broadcaster would present its case in a balanced or fair manner. Instead of talking to the BBC, Primark set up a microsite to speak directly to consumers. Lancaster, head of external affairs for Primark's parent company Associated British Foods (ABF), said Primark had been involved in a right of reply process with the BBC for six weeks prior to the show airing. ‘It became clear the BBC's main motivation for giving us a right of reply was to persuade us to give it an interview,' said Lancaster. ‘We decided that the issue was so complex we needed to speak to people outside the glare of Panorama's somewhat sensationalist presentation.' Instead Primark set up a microsite to speak directly to consumers. A journalist was brought in to put unscripted questions to Primark director Breege O'Donoghue and the footage was posted on its site at 9pm on Monday, the same time as the BBC documentary was screened. Lancaster said that releasing a statement before the programme aired helped the store to have more control, with headlines focusing on Primark axing the factories rather than child labour accusations. ‘We changed the news reporting because we moved the story on,' he said. But the BBC dismissed the store's claims. A spokesman said: ‘The right to reply process was handled in an exemplary fashion and included face-to-face meetings and considerable time for Primark to reply to the programme's findings. Primark had a fantastic opportunity to be interviewed by the programme and put its argument across but after, by its own admission, a period of internal debate, it decided not to face scrutiny.' Lancaster is the sole internal press officer, but Primark also uses freelancer Helen Penney. ABF's retained agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson has been handling media relations and government affairs during the crisis (Source: Magee 2008 np link).

Many blog posts appeared on the web, and these were posted by fervent hard-liner protestors on one side and ardent defenders of Primark on the other. Fans of cheap clothing and fashion aided by some of Primark’s present and former staff members by and large sought to defend the company’s position. They formed an online barricade around their favourite fashion brand (Source: Jones et al 2009 p.934 link).

Where a brand is popular and well known, it is also fair game for criticism. Primark has attracted attention from Panorama and anti-sweat shop protesters who question how its workers are treated in its factories in the developing world. Lancaster says: 'It's the classic ‘fame is a doubled edged sword’. There are problems in the developing world, but they are not exclusive to us. Most of our suppliers work for other chains as well. It's something we take seriously, but we would argue we are unfairly singled out.' [PR Company head Mark] Perkins says this is one of the risks in presenting your brand as cheap. 'That's what you get for talking up your price. People focus on that and will trace it through your supplier chain. The brand gets into the issues of ethics and people start to question the brand's credentials. If you are going to market yourself on your price, you need to be prepared with a defence.' [Good Relations CEO Teresa-Anne] Dunleavy believes that, in the recession, Primark's core shoppers are unlikely to listen to these criticisms, but adds it may present a bigger problem in the long term (Source: Magee 2010 np link).

Discount clothing store Primark has sacked three Indian clothing supply firms after the BBC's Panorama programme found refugee children slaving away in factories for as little as 60p a day making sequinned vests. But is ethical shopping just a luxury that we can no longer afford? Mum-of-three Katrina Reddie, 34, from East London, says that she can't stop shopping at cheap stores. ‘Of course, I think it's wrong that this goes on,’ she says. ‘How do we know who uses it and who doesn't? Even some of the expensive brands do it. I shop at Primark because it's cheaper, simple as that.’ Mum-of-two Margaret Hunter, 45, a doctor from South-East London, says she tries her best to shop ethically. ‘I did discuss it with my children who came shopping with me yesterday,’ she says. ‘I told them many of the clothes we buy could be made by people who are paid something like 20p a day. Most clothes are made in Indonesia and I'm sure they're not paid a fair wage there anyway - and that's not just Primark. ‘But when your kids nag you for a new dress or jeans it's easy to forget ethics’ (Source: Fletcher 2008 np link).

Primark is rightly being exposed over the use of child labour in the finishing of cheap clothes. But as evidence against retailers stacks up, shoppers are kidding themselves if they don't shoulder some of the blame, says Dan McDougall. The key question behind sweatshop investigations into major corporations like Monday night's Panorama special on Primark is abundantly clear: do consumers, the UK shoppers who spend billions in the High Street, truly care where their £4 hand-finished blouse comes from? The answer, to the shops at least, is yes. And it is reflected in the growth of ethical sourcing policies led by firms like Marks and Spencer. Lucy, like many experts in the field, believes the BBC's investigation into Primark should now act as a watermark; a line in the sand for both retailers and customers: ‘We've had 12 years of excuses from retailers and manufacturers, this now has to change. It is a massive consumer issue. ‘We need to know the real trade-off. If retailers say they can provide clothes for nothing without abusing basic human rights and exploiting workers, we should start asking for some real proof of these rather strange economics’ (Source: McDougall 2008c np link).

The BBC has cleared Panorama, its flagship current affairs programme, of faking a key scene in a documentary about clothing retailer Primark after a 22-month investigation. The programme, Primark: On the Rack, was broadcast in June 2008 following a joint investigation by Panorama and the Observer. However, the corporation's editorial complaints unit (ECU) has criticised Panorama for ‘inaccuracies in the scene’ that showed boys in a Bangalore workshop making Primark clothes. A BBC spokesman said the unit had found the sequence ‘was not subject to sufficient scrutiny by the Panorama team. ... and should not have been relied on in the programme’. The finding is likely to enrage senior BBC journalists, who have hit out at the corporation's complaints procedure, accusing it of caving in to powerful companies. The ruling follows a complaint from the retailer after the programme was broadcast. Primark could not be contacted for comment last night but, under BBC rules, it is free to take its complaint to the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body (Source: Robinson 2010 p.3 link).

Primark bosses complained about the show - Primark: On the Rack - shortly after it was screened in June 2008. The BBC’s own complaints department had cleared the programme of any wrongdoing last April. But yesterday the BBC Trust partially upheld the complaint - but said the central allegation about the use of child labour remains true. Alison Hastings, chair of the Trust’s ESC, said: ‘While it’s important to recognise the programme did find evidence that Primark was contravening its own ethical guidelines, there were still serious failings in the making of the programme.’ She added it failed to meet the required ‘highest standards of accuracy’ expected (Source: Anon 2011b np link).

When the clothing retailer originally complained that the segment - which showed young boys in Bangalore making clothes - was faked, the BBC's editorial complaints unit held an inquiry into the complaint and cleared the programme makers. Primark then appealed to the Trust. It responded with a lengthy, and apparently painstaking, investigation, which included sending a representative to India. That investigation by the Trust's editorial standards committee could not discover, one way or the other, whether the film was faked or not. It states: ‘The committee considered that there was not one piece of irrefutable and conclusive evidence which would enable it to say for certain (ie, beyond reasonable doubt) whether the footage was or was not staged. However, the committee was not required to reach a view beyond reasonable doubt... Having carefully scrutinised all of the relevant evidence, the committee concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, it was more likely than not that the Bangalore footage was not authentic’ (Source: Greenslade 2011 np link).

Primark believed from the outset this footage could not be genuine and brought it to the attention of the BBC programme team both before and after the broadcast, to the attention of the BBC director-general after broadcast, and then to the attention of the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit (the ‘ECU’), also after broadcast, in 2008. None of these strong representations were taken as seriously as they should have been given the gravity of the accusation. In July 2009 the ECU reopened its inquiry into Primark’s complaint after the company submitted a substantial quantity of fresh evidence that gave rise to further grave concern over the authenticity of the footage used in the programme (Source: Primark nd np link).

Primark has long been pursuing grievances about the documentary, which investigated the retailer's claims that it can deliver ‘cheap, fast fashion’ without breaking ethical guidelines. It lodged a complaint about footage in a Bengaluru workshop of three boys described as testing stitching on Primark garments. The [BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards] committee said evidence showed that ‘it was more likely than not that the footage was not genuine’ (Source: Robinson & Sweney 2011 np link).

Primark [led] the [Editorial Standards Committee] examine tapes, emails and witness evidence from the location (Source: Ayling 2011 np link).

The ... Editorial Standards Committee examined evidence such as the unedited 'rushes' of the programme and emails to the production team from the freelance journalist Dan McDougall, who obtained the footage. Yesterday's ruling noted six points that indicated the footage might not be genuine in the 45-second clip. This included the size of needles used, which it was claimed would have been 'inappropriate' for 'delicate' work they were doing. The BBC Trust also found it odd that in the Bangalore scene there appeared to be no other garments visible in shot which would be unusual if it was a 'quality control process'. It added that the way it had been filmed with a tight focus on the boys and less on their surrounding environment added to concerns. There were also said to be 'inconsistencies' in the evidence such as the email trail (Source: Revoir 2011 np link).

A video on Primark's website claims journalist Dan McDougall bought the tops from a woman in Tirupur in February 2008. The boys claim he asked them to ‘move your hand on this’ to make it look as though they were working on the garments (Source: Methven 2011a p.6).

A video on Primark's website claims Mr McDougall bought the three sequinned tops from a woman in There were Tirupur in February 2008. He allegedly sent an email the same day to his panorama bosses informing them he had filmed children aged between nine and 13 ‘handbeading sequinned women's tops’ for Atmosphere, a Primark brand. But he actually filmed the boys the following day, 300km away in Bangalore, as exposed by the date code on the footage. Primark tracked down the boys, who claim that he asked them to ‘move your hand on this’ to make it look as though they were working on the garments. ‘This shows he planned to fake the footage,’ the video claims (Source: Methven 2011b p.8 link).

The team had viewed the unedited ‘rushes’ and emails to producers from the freelance journalist Dan McDougall, who obtained the footage. The ruling - disputed vigorously by Mr McDougall - noted six points that indicated the scene might have been faked, including the size of needles and the fact no other garments were visible (Source: Hickman 2011 p.22).

The 45-second scene in question showed three boys in Bangalore ‘testing the stitching’ on some clothes. However, they were working on sequinned vest tops which had already been seen in another location - which the Trust deemed ‘improbable’. The large needles used in the footage - filmed by reporter Dan McDougall - would also be inappropriate for the delicate sequin work, it said. And they felt the tight camera focus on the boys also gave away that the footage was faked (Source: Anon 2011b np link).

A short clip showing three boys testing stitching in a workshop in Bangalore, India, should not have been included in the 2008 special - Primark: On The Rack, the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee found...The BBC has apologised to Primark and viewers but clothing bosses remain upset that ‘millions of people’ were deceived. A Primark spokesman said the BBC announcement was ‘extraordinary’. Award-winning filmmaker Dan McDougall ‘vigorously’ rejected the ‘unjust’ and ‘flawed’ findings of the inquiry. He said: 'I have rarely seen a finding so unjust in outcome, flawed in process and deeply damaging to independent investigative journalism' (Source: Garner 2011 np link).

Paul Lister of Associated British Foods, Primark’s parent company, said: ‘The BBC is guilty of fabrication. This programme was premised on a lie. We feel vindicated and we are delighted that after three years of pursuing this issue, the BBC Trust has finally confirmed the film was fake’ (Source: Gloger 2011 p.17 link).

Primark added that it did not accept that some other footage used in the film was genuine but decided not to pursue the matter relating that particular imagery further (Source: Shields 2011 np link).

What outrageous lies by Primark. They're cherry picking tiny bits of the report. The trust found in favour of Panorama initially. Primark then appealed on some issues. Primark are far from vindicated and are abusing the BBC complaints procedure (Source: Tan 2011 np link).

The confirmation that faked material was broadcast by Panorama is extraordinary. Millions of people have been deceived by Panorama. Viewers who watched the programme, shoppers who were then fed the lie, sourcing experts who believed the lie, teachers and pupils who viewed the programme in lessons, have all been badly let down. Primark welcomes the decision of the BBC Trust which confirms that Panorama: ‘Primark on the Rack’, was based on fabrication and was littered with poor journalistic practices. Panorama simply did not find child labour involved in the Primark supply chain as the programme sought to suggest but relied on fabricated footage to air a programme otherwise based on prejudice. Primark was forced to carry out its own investigation into the allegations made by the programme and, based on this, and staggeringly based on evidence in the possession of the BBC even prior to broadcast, Primark demonstrated the lie underpinning the programme. Primark has had to persevere and pursue the matter for a period of 3 years. Only now after 4 official investigations by the BBC has Primark been vindicated ... Primark notes that Dan McDougall, the journalist at the centre of the programme, alone took similar footage of a boy and a girl in a refugee camp ... the company does not accept that footage as genuine, nor that it is evidence of child labour in Primark’s supply chain, but the company does not intend to pursue this matter further at this stage ... The company remains wholly committed to ensuring that its customers can continue to shop at Primark confident in its commitment to its ethics and its values. To this end the company continues to work hard to improve working practices among its suppliers and these steps have been recognised by NGOs expert in the field (Source: Primark nd np link).

In its findings, the trust said that there was no irrefutable evidence that the footage was faked, adding that only the freelance journalist in the field, his translator and the witness ‘would ever know the truth of the circumstances under which the footage was shot’. Dan McDougall, the journalist responsible for the footage ... said at the time of the verdict last week that he was appalled by the decision. ‘In the BBC Trust's own words, there is not 'one piece of irrefutable and conclusive evidence' to support the allegation that the sequence in the programme had been staged,’ he said (Source: Leroux 2011 np).

Committee chairman Alison Hastings said: ‘The programme did find evidence that Primark contravened its own ethical guidelines - but there were still serious failings in the making of the programme’ (Source: Methven 2011a p.6).

We looked at a specific piece of footage of three boys, and found more likely than not that this was not genuine. We did not make a judgment about other child labour footage, which did not come to us on appeal (Source: Hastings 2011 p.42 link).

... defenders of the programme pointed out the BBC Trust agreed that overall the programme had obtained 'clear evidence' work was being outsourced from other factories in India which contravened Primark’s ethical trading principles. David Thomson of international aid agency World Vision stressed the 'key concern' should be that 'Panorama proved Primark was breaking its own policies' (Source: Revoir 2011 np link).

David Thomson of aid agency World Vision said the ‘key concern’ should be that ‘Panorama proved that Primark was breaking its own policies’. He added: ‘This is the issue on which we should all be focusing. Primark is in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water’ (Source: Dex 2011 np link).

[BBC News staff] argue that interested parties can continue to raise objections about programmes even after their initial complaints have been rejected, effectively using the system to lodge objections until they obtain the judgment they were seeking (Source: Robinson 2011 np link).

Senior BBC journalists have accused Primark of abusing the complaints procedure and tying the BBC down in an expensive legal battle. They say privately that the company lobbied senior figures, including the director general, Mark Thompson, to ensure the programme was investigated (Source: Robinson 2010 p.3 link).

Media regulator Ofcom, rather than the BBC, should have the final say over complaints about impartiality and accuracy with the corporation's programmes, according to a House of Lords committee report (Source: Conlan 2011 np link).

[Primark’s Paul] Lister ... criticised the BBC for taking so long to find in its favour when evidence casting doubt on some of the video material has been in the corporation's possession since before the documentary first aired in 2008. ‘The point we would make is it didn't need to take three years ... they had the evidence, this could have been solved in three weeks,’ he said. ‘Primark has become the poster boy of child labour in the UK’ (Source: Sweney 2011 np link).

There was an interesting debate on The Guardian's website this week where one of its bloggers stood up for the BBC's now discredited Panorama programme on Primark. Almost every comment sided with Primark. When the Guardianistas are doing that, you know something's gone wrong, so it's good the BBC was ordered to apologise. Fashion retailers know better than anyone the difficulties that come with modern supply chains, and no one can afford to be complacent. But the programme betrayed the bias against big business in general and fast fashion in particular in some sections of our national media. Primark's forensic investigation of the allegations is a textbook example of how retailers can fight back (Source: Danaher 2011 np link).

The decision by the BBC Trust to uphold at least part of the complaint against Panorama over its programme on Primark is baffling. It goes against natural justice to find against the journalist and producers on what it calls ‘the balance of probabilities.’ Dan McDougall is an intrepid, award-winning investigative reporter with a superb record in exposing human rights violations. Frank Simmonds is an experienced producer who has been responsible for many important revelatory Panorama programmes. Yet this so-called judgment - which requires the corporation to apologise for the documentary - puts a black mark against their names on the most tenuous of grounds. Having studied the report, I believe the Trust has got this wholly wrong ... But let's stick to the single matter on which the Trust has pronounced its verdict - 45 seconds of filmed material in the hour-long documentary about the alleged use of child labour (Source: Greenslade 2011 np link).

‘Dan McDougall ... ‘was’, Roy. If Auntie [BBC] - not the Daily Mail mind, but Auntie - comes within an ace of directly accusing you of fabricating your story, your audience is bound to begin to wonder how many of those human rights violations you ‘exposed’ were put up jobs. In any event, I don't think we need to get too excited about it. Although I am sure that scrupulously honest ‘investigative reporters’ exist, most neutral observers would tend to associate the ideas of ‘investigative reporter’ and ‘agitprop activist with a camera’ and would adjust their expectations of honesty accordingly (Source: LeeMoore 2011 np link).

I do not believe that a single frame of ‘Primark: on the Rack’ was not authentic. Evidence that Primark broke its own guidelines on outsourcing and employing children was painstakingly assembled by some of Panorama’s most experienced journalists. This is confirmed in the Trusts findings. But they also allege that some of the footage filmed by Dan McDougall was staged. I do not believe this. Dan is a highly respected and award winning journalist who has worked with national newspapers and broadcasters. I never had any reason to doubt his credibility and neither do others I have spoken to who work with him. I am very disappointed that the BBC Trust has chosen not to trust a Panorama team of such calibre (Source: Heap 2011 np link).

... not to put too fine a point on it, the Trust is accusing McDougall of unethical behaviour. And it is doing so after admitting it lacks certainty. No wonder McDougall has issued a statement saying he is ‘appalled by the decision.’ He added: ‘I have rarely seen a finding so unjust in outcome, flawed in process, and deeply damaging to independent investigative journalism.’ It would not surprise me in the least if McDougall were to seek a judicial review. He may even contemplate an action for libel. He is the Sunday Times Africa correspondent and has made other Panorama programmes. He is a former British foreign correspondent of the year and has won three Amnesty awards. It should also be noted that in a further investigation into Primark - published six months after the Panorama documentary - McDougall exposed the company for employing illegal immigrants in a UK sweatshop, a story published in the News of the World and the Observer (Source: Greenslade 2011 np link).

This is fascinating, but I sorry Roy [Greenslade], I think you're to be way off the mark. The Guardian articles which I have glanced through seem to fudge some of the facts, but the rebuttal video from Primark doesn't pull any punches ... They quite simply accuse McDougall of fabricating some of the most damaging footage in the programme. If they are lying then he should sue ... immediately. If he obtained the material from a 3rd party and doubted it's veracity then he should come clean (Source: Tellymonster 2011a np link).

Roy Greenslade elides over the facts that there was an independent editorial adviser who crawled over the material and that multiple telling inconsistencies were identified that were not readily explicable, including in Mr McDougall's own testimony. On reading the report, the decision is if anything charitable in not holding that the matter was beyond all reasonable doubt. I'll make a prediction: if Mr McDougall sues for libel, he will ruin his own reputation. If he has any sense, he will go quietly now while he has willing dupes like Roy Greenslade still willing to fight his corner (Source: antifrank 2011 np link).

Roy looks to be absolutely off the mark here. Primark's own investigative video, available at is a real eye-opener into the fakery. From the video, the BBC Trust look to be absolutely right on this and Dan McDougall is rightly exposed (Source: johnjm 2011 np link).

Having read the Trust report, while they can't be 100%, the journalist's account seems collectively to be contradictory and implausible. He can't explain why he flew 300 miles and happened to stumble across the same clothes he'd seen in a workshop the previous day. He can't explain why he'd swapped tapes to record that footage on a tape of Primark material when he shouldn't have known when he started filming that there would be Primark clothes there (if there were). One one occasion he changes his explanation for something which then makes his explanation of another factor contradictory. He can't explain why, if these boys were working on piles of Primark clothes, he's only filmed three items - all of which are identical to clothes he'd handled the previous day and could easily have carried with him. He may well be respected for his newspaper work, but would that work stand scrutiny now? After all, print journalists rely often on nothing more than their own contemporaneous notes (of which he makes few). Why did he refuse to speak to the investigators? Sorry, but if the subject of a Panorama investigation behaved this way, you'd be led to only one conclusion. And the words 'we asked for a response but he refused to comment' would be left to damn him (Source: 5nowball2 2011a np link).

Can 5nowball2 account for the rest of the film (the overwhelming evidence) that children were found in Indian sweatshops making clothes for the retailer by the SAME Journalist. ..... little wonder most consumers still think the retailer is unethical - the same journo as pointed out by Greenslade also found sweatshop in Manchester in another investigation - sounds like a case of pure revenge to me ... and trying to stop Journo's exposing their unethical practices (Source: emilynew 2011a np link).

I don't need to. I'm not defending whether or not Primark sold clothes manufactured in sweatshops. My point is whether the journalist fabricated the clip and the evidence is strong enough for the committee to conclude that he did. 100% sure, no. Beyond reasonable doubt, who knows? But strong enough for balance of probabilities certainly. As for other evidence that the SAME journalist found. I'm sorry, but once he's been found to have fabricated evidence on one matter, I would probably want corroboration from another journo or first hand evidence (Source: 5nowball2 2011b np link).

What about the other children that featured in THE REST OF THE ONE HOUR film that Primark admitted were making their clothes ?? Wasn't that done by the same Journo ? pretty defamatory video by the retailer by the way - the journo should sue - damaging to Journalism I agree (Source: emilynew 2011b np link).

Nothing wrong with the other 3,555 seconds in the programme apparently (Source: Nimmykins 2011 np link).

@nimmykins: ... Interesting take on the matter. I can see murderers using it as a fail-safe defence in court; ‘Yes, I did kill him. But every other day in my life has been homicide-free’ (Source: Bushmills 2011 np link).

It was a really interesting and well made film and probably worthy of the awards it won, but this blog is about the apparent fabrication of evidence ... a very serious charge. This is not about the guilt of Primark. It's about about an award winning journalist being accused of making things up for broadcast on this country most high profile current affairs programme. Are you going to respond Roy? (Source: Tellymonster 2011a np link).

Roy, you are plain wrong to say that the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit cleared the programme-makers. The report says clearly that the ECU said there was ‘an unresolved question about the authenticity of the disputed material’, that it had ‘not been adequately verified before it was transmitted... a breach of both the accuracy and fairness editorial guidelines’, that the Panorama journalists had given the impression that they ‘were in possession of other material which authenticated it when in fact they were not’ and that ‘The programme was inaccurate in that it created a misleading impression in relation to the viewers’ understanding of what they were seeing in the Bangalore footage.’ If that's being cleared, I'd hate to see them found guilty (Source: evetsb 2011 np link).

I respect Roy Greenslade, but I don't agree with him at all. Read the full report! It's quite clear there are huge problems with Dan McDougall's footage in Bangalore. His emails at the time, and the fact that he mystteriously swapped tapes in his camera don't help support his case. He shouldn't have been allowed to do this secret filming on his own, with insufficient supervision. But worst of all is that the Panorama team refused to be interviewed by the BBC's own investigator, unless they were all seen as a group accompanied by a lawyer! Dan McDougall also wouldn't be interviewed. What does Roy Greenslade make of that? (Source: Bystander57 2011 np link).

The BBC Trust's unequivocal finding of inaccuracy is predictably accompanied by a hymn of praise to the corporation's ‘great investigative journalism’. The implication is that the Primark programme represented a highly unusual lapse. That may be true, in so far as the BBC is rarely careless enough to use faked material. Yet, when it comes to the reporting of business in general, errors of judgment are almost invariably skewed in one direction: towards the evils - real, imagined or exaggerated - of capitalism. Again and again, the BBC presents anti-business lobby groups as impartial ‘experts’ in stories involving multinational corporations and the environment. In contrast, it is hard to imagine a pro-business lobby being afforded the same status in a report on the damage to people's lives caused by the throttling of enterprise by European regulations. That is, of course, a theoretical example: we cannot recall any such programme ever being made. But the Panorama documentary was not theoretical: a thriving business was put on the rack by dishonest journalism (Source: Anon 2011c np link).

Like all clothing retailers, Primark knows that sourcing in the developing world is difficult and needs constant care to ensure the best possible working conditions.  But this film was a deliberate mischaracterisation of Primark’s business, its supply chain, and its ethics. Sensationalising these issues by the use of fabricated journalism harms the very people whose lives retailers, trade unions and NGOs are all working to improve. Panorama can be a fine maker of documentaries and, at its best, it is to be applauded, but the programme carries responsibilities which were disregarded. This lapse was compounded by the BBC’s complaints process. It is now for others to decide what steps should be taken at the BBC. But Primark hopes that no other individual or company is again subjected to such deception and ill-treatment (Source: Primark nd np link).

Primark’s prices are low because we don’t rip off our customers. Most of our clothes are bought from the same factories as other fashion retailers and people producing them are paid exactly the same whatever the label and whatever the price in the shop. We are able to offer good value and good quality because of low mark-ups and big volumes. We use simple designs, our overhead costs are extremely low and we don’t run expensive advertising campaigns. The issues highlighted by Panorama are industry wide and that is why Primark works with governments, leading campaigners, retailers and industry bodies to try to solve them (Source: Primark 2008 np link).

Paul Lister, Primark’s legal chief, ... said that Primark is one of the ‘top few’ members of the Ethical Trading Initiative - which has members including Marks & Spencer and Tesco - in terms of standards. He added that more than 98% of the suppliers the company used are ‘shared by leading UK, European and Bond Street retailers’. ‘It is a continuous path of improvement we have made great progress,’ he said. ‘It is difficult sourcing out of the developing world. We are on a journey, we will always be on a journey’ (Source: Sweney 2011 np link).

[Lister] said that Primark undertook thousands of audits a year to ensure that child labour was not used within its supply chain, and the company had never previously found that such practices were used to make its clothing (Source: Ahmed 2011 p.6).

War on Want is disappointed at the BBC Trust's ruling yesterday that the BBC should apologise over a clip of its 2008 Panorama documentary 'Primark: On the Rack'. The film showed some of India's poorest people working long, gruelling hours on Primark clothes in slum workshops and refugee camps, and underlined the importance of decent working conditions in the fight to end poverty worldwide. ... War on Want was not directly involved in [the 45 second] clip and cannot comment specifically on it. But War on Want did feature in the film, and reaffirms that its broader finding was correct: that Primark suppliers were exploiting workers who were made to work long hours for minimal pay. Indeed, we released our own extensive research to this effect in two reports, in 2006 and 2008 - the second published not long after the Panorama film.War on Want is disappointed at the aggressive pursuit of the BBC by Primark's lawyers, and believes the company's resources would be better spent improving workers' rights in its supply chain. Furthermore, the dispute over the information of what actually happened in Bangalore - which the BBC Trust could not conclusively resolve either way - only strengthens War on Want's urgent call for the UK government to establish an independent regulator with investigative and punitive powers (Source: War on Want 2011 np link).

However the filming was staged, the bigger truth is that Primark and other retailers exploit child labour. Panorama has helped to bring home this truth graphically so that we can all decide whether £1 a tee shirt is actually too cheap (Source: keepcalm 2011 np link).

Much as I disagree with the use of child labour etc. I think this was a poorly timed expose by Panorama/BBC. The British retail sector is in dire need of consumer support at the moment to arrest the credit slide. Auntie Beeb slamming into one of our leading high street retailers is not the greatest move ever made (Source: Niles 2008 np link).

But most firms are at it. Why Panorama picked on Primark - I've no idea. It's irresponsible by the Beeb (Source: Goalshan602 2008 np link).

I watched the programme, dunno why they singled out Primark cos they're all at it and they always will be ... exploitation of the poorest ... But still ... at least the people are earning something more than nothing (Source: Seperatist 2008 np link).

AS A Primark devotee it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch the BBC's expose of the fast fashion empire. But, from the beginning, the six month BBC investigation seemed alarmingly thin and unbalanced. Posing as industry buyers in India, reporter Tom Heap and his team found some of South India's poorest people working long, gruelling hours on Primark clothes. But, at every step, he made clear that Primark aren't the only culprits and that other more expensive stores are doing the same thing. Surely, as consumers, we deserve to hear all the shops named and shamed? Only then can we make educated purchasing decisions. And even then, apparently, we aren't supposed to boycott the shops that fail to safeguard workers, for fear of putting those vulnerable people out of work altogether. So what ought we to do? Well, this was where the programme really fell down. They had to admit that they simply didn't know. And after an hourlong documentary, neither did I (Source: Wright 2008 p.23).

Do you ask Top Shop, Next, M&S, Asos or any other fashion retailer where their clothing comes from and who makes it? It’s easy to jump on a bandwagon but the problem is not exclusive to Primark, and no matter what regulations are introduced or shopper pressure brought about, as long as we demand clothing for low low prices this will continue to happen. Also keep in mind that the money those children earn might also be the only money their family get, what is needed are realistic expectations from us as consumers and a concerted ethical drive from retail as a whole (not that ridiculous ethical trade agreement) - after all if just one retailer puts prices up to cover higher labour costs, they’ll quickly go out of business, it has to be industry-wide (Source: quikshop 2008 np link).

I know Monsoon get much of their clothes made in India, and even if they are paying them minimum wage it's still hardly anything in comparison with their prices. So they are ripping us off, and may be unethical too. Some people justify it by saying at least they are getting a wage. I don't buy much from Primark, but I have warned people against it the past few days. I don't know whether that was right though, it's confusing! (Source: siddy_06 2008 np link).

It's just an example. You can't make a million programmes about all companies. However, Primark claim that they are ethical when they're not (Source: nishath_786 2008 np link).

I think we have known about Primark, I never have used the shop at all, this may well have been one program with a problem the sad fact the majority of the program was spot on. Like it or not this company has a habit of being named on TV for it's record (Source: treborc1 2011 np link).

Yet another program for Consumers on a revenge path ... How dare that reporter incline towards that woman [shopping] in anyway that it’s her fault for buying clothes from Primark. I’m not one for child labour but at the end of the day, people in better off positions are there because of people that are less well off. She’s no more to blame than the reporter who showed her the video, we’re all part of the system. That lady and everyone else who buy Primark clothes can’t necessarily afford to buy top of the range clothes from next or topshop. Even then, who can guarantee that anything unethical doesn’t happen there? (Source: Maddox 2008 np link).

... where do you think a 3 quid t-shirt comes from? ... If you bought clothes that cheap, unless you were a massive dimwit you just didn’t want to think about why it was that cheap did you? ...To criticise Panorama is absolutely pathetic, if that programme makes a few people realise that the reason those &%$±£ clothes at Primark are so cheap for a reason, then job done as far as I’m concerned (Source: machinesoul 2008 np link).

Heard the news? Three quid tops are made using third world child labour - why hasn’t anyone told us this before? I never knew capitalism was based upon exploitation. Next thing they’ll be telling us that hereditary government is counter-democratic and that religion is a form of social control dressed up as morality. I dunno, it’s getting harder to be idealistic these days (Source: Café del Lar 2008 np link).

Unfortunately being forced to move their manufacturing abroad because customers just want cheap items for the High Street, someone always has to pay. Consumers have a big part in playing to give people in the Third world a better life (Source: Gordon 2008 np link).

... boycott primark (Source: Illuminate 2008 np link).

This is what I am trying to get people to do but it's like banging your head against a brick wall. I will try writing to them too, as it said in the programme that boycotting them alone may not have much impact (Source: siddy_06 2008 np link).

Of course there is the intelligent vocal consumer, but we are overwhelmed by the masses who simply buy what fashion or their peer group tell them to! If people are so uneducated as to buy and feed themselves much of the muck that supermarkets call food, how are they going to be persuaded to make an informed decision about labour conditions 5,000 miles away. Especially when it means paying £10 rather than £2! (Source: Mallett 2008 np link).

So what guidance do we have when it comes to shopping for clothes if reputable concerns like Gap and Primark have been found to use unethical labour? There is Fair Trade clothing around, and its best to find ‘end-to-end’ fair Trade manufacture not just Fair Trade Cotton. Otherwise, the only way is to ask for an assurance from your supplier (Source: Peter 2008 np link).

So your solution is don't buy cheap goods and they can all starve in quite dignity while you maintain a clean conscious by not exploiting child labor (Source: cubanbob 2011 np link).

I did actually say to hubby that no matter how sad it is these families would not get the money if everyone boycotted shopping there. They won't anyway, there is a new Primark opening in our city and it is the talk everywhere you go, people can't wait (Source: andrea w. 2008 np link).

Either make all your own clothes (but then, make sure you make all the material yourself as well), grow all your own food, provide all your own energy, live on an island in isolation from the entire human population and therefore forego all technology, entertainment and medical science or SHUT THE *%$§ UP. Personally, I’m almost blind without my contact lenses or glasses, and I quite like playing records and making electricity-based music, so I’ll stick it out in the real world. All these single issues seem to be based on the idea ‘If only these people didn’t exploit the third world then everything would be hunky dory’. Our entire civilisation is based upon exploitation, whether it’s here or elsewhere. That’s just how it works, how it’s always worked since we progressed beyond small tribal societies. Not shopping at Primark and boycotting other selected scapegoats is going to make *%$§ ALL difference, all it does is give the boycotter an opportunity to feel erroneously self-righteous, as with the environmentalism fallacy. What’s also worth noting is that the combination of the military and capitalism is responsible for most new technology. Basically, if you ever listen to music, watch TV, use any kind of medicine, use a computer (as I presume you’re doing to read this) then don’t complain about Primark. By focussing on specific examples, you miss the point that it is technological / industrial society as a whole which ENGENDERS these problems. Unless you’re gonna go all Unabomber and actively seek to destroy technological society, things like the Primark issue etc. etc. are gonna pop up all the time. The faces change, the problems remain the same. As I said, unless you utterly reject all industrial society, then your efforts are essentially token gestures, however well-meaning they might be. Essentially, our very scientific / technological / ‘progressive’ nature means that we have billions more people alive than we can possibly sustain long-term. Our very nature has the seeds of our own destruction built in it, and we have a hard time accepting that. ‘The Matrix’ has it spot on with the guy who *knows* what’s going on, but hey, he likes steak so he accepts it. Replace ‘steak’ with anything – music, films, sport, medical science, anything that doesn’t physically grow out of the ground or occur naturally, whatever … there’s always something that people won’t give up, and so they accept the situation and try to justify or ignore it. Basically, people don’t like to think of themselves as contributing towards anything bad, so they find scapegoats to shoulder the guilt for us all and attempt to distance themselves from it. It’s a natural human trait (Nietzsche talks about similar things in ‘The Genealogy of Morals’ when he goes on about ‘resentment’, or ‘slave morality’) (Source: peej 2008 np link).

So the argument is ‘make your own clothes or stop whining about child labour’ right? my missus used to work in a factory making clothes for Marks’s in the 80s and spent all her wages on clothes (not the ones she made by the way) so she was being exploited in the production process and exploiting those in the same profession. Her factory closed and the work transferred to India 20 years ago and as an internationalist, I’m not arsed about where these products are made just as I’m not arsed if it’s a cockney or an Indian call centre drone taking my call - but as a (former) trade union activist I think it’s important that unless we replace global capitalism with global socialism (not likely) then at least let’s try and protect worker’s living conditions and ensure that the most vulnerable in society aren’t exploited - of course all capitalism is based on exploitation but there are degrees of exploitation. By the way my missus was in Primark on Saturday and I was in microzine - still all produced in third world sweat shops whatever the label (Source: Café del Lar 2008 np link).

I do not support child labour but we should be able to consider other point of view, (ie allowing children to work under certain guidelines) and if it is not against the norm or law of the host home country, nor stop the child from going to school, I will be reluctant to call it child labour. It indeed might be a life skill for the child not just in economics, but in practical skills (imagine the neat pattern on the piece of clothe), what about the extra income for school uniform or the stipend for the family. Again, let's not all jump on the bandwagon of criticism, using our own yardstick to measure other economies (Source: Feyisetan 2008 np link).

An earlier comment stated ‘it is a purposeful attempt to denigrate a company by falsifying facts that were presented to deceive the public.’ How do you know this? Have you been to the factories? Seen the children working? Talked to them? Wake up it happens. Families including the kids want to eat, so they work. There's no cushy social security that pays you to sit on your arse for doing nothing ... You want money to eat, you work - simple. And there are plenty more people looking for the work than there are jobs. So if you complain, cause trouble, are late or produce poor work. You and your family are given the boot. Conditions are much better than in the past, but again that's relative. The footage maybe be faked - it was probably done to protect the real kid workers - but for as long as you want to keep buying cheap goods and large chunks of the world live in poverty then child labour will continue. Why because they're hungry! (Source: wanchaiboi 2011 np link).

I don't really mind if children make the clothes I wear. They should get paid the same as the adults or better give the jobs to their mums, dads, aunties and uncles at the reasonable wages to bring up their families. Or even better, bring the jobs back into this country to our textile industry (Source: DP 2008 np link).

If it was happening in the UK could you imagine the public reaction (Source: retailworld 2008 np link).

I'm quite 'good' at switching off and watching things like this on a very unemotional level. Dont forget that is the message the film makers want to get accross so they will edit it and do the voice over in the most emotional manner (Source: Mel W 2008 np link).

wow. i watched that show. would love to know what was true and not true in it. i wonder if they will rescreen it, recut, ... or whether it will be buried and we'll never really know what happens. perhaps C4 will commission a dispatches on the same subject and do it properly (Source: Anon 2011d np link).

The documentary raises important questions about low-cost fashion and how it is produced; but we wonder whether it is just low-cost fashion retailers who are vulnerable to these practices (Source: Buttle 2008 np link).

Impact / Outcomes

An hour-long Panorama special about the high street clothes retailer Primark that BBC1 parachuted into the schedule last night, Monday June 23, was watched by 4.2 million viewers. The programme, called Primark: On the Rack, pulled in an average of 19% of the available audience at 9pm. The programme was not shown at the same time in Scotland but added 310,000 when it was shown on BBC1 Scotland at 10.30pm, according to the unofficial overnights (Source: Dowell 2008 np link).

The Panorama report, in which reporter Tom Heap and his team found children in India sewing sequins onto Primark clothes, got the biggest audience in the 9pm-10pm slot with a 19.2% share (Source: Sandison 2008 p.1 link).

[BBC’s iPlayer] has already transformed the television viewing habits of millions and boosted ratings for a diverse cast of stars from Noel Fielding to Sir Alan Sugar and Jeremy Vine. [The BBC said yesterday that] ... the online catch-up service ... had received more than 100m programme requests in just six months ... The fifth most watched programme yesterday was Panorama's investigation into the use of child labour by suppliers of the clothing store Primark, originally broadcast on Monday (Source: Gibson 2008 p.7 link).

Instead of accepting the BBC’s invitation to answer the accusations levelled against them, Primark decided to go to the web and talk directly to their clients thus bypassing the mass media channel. They built a micro-site to answer the BBC’s negative exposure and sought to address and assure consumers directly in a web-only strategy. The site was launched at the same time that the BBC programme went on air (Source: Barbour 2008 np link).

Primark's website ... carries the company's code of ethics and a video interview with Breege O'Donoghue, a Primark director, in which she says the 'sacking' of the three factories was 'a matter of huge regret for us'. It was the action 'of last resort' and Primark was 'extremely sad' about the loss of jobs. Why the company chose not to have O'Donoghue or someone to respond on the programme, rather than on its website, is its own business. Presumably, it opted for total control, though the images of labouring children, including one of a boy laboriously checking sequins while being told 'Just get on with the work, little boy,’ could have done with a personal response (Source: Anon 2008a np).

Primark has aggressively hit out at the BBC following the BBC Trust findings on its Panorama show, but the broadcaster is shying away from entering into a media battle. ... Primark’s response to the BBC Trust’s findings has been packaged up on a microsite, which includes the statement along with a video explaining Primark’s case and a timeline of events. Primark’s long-standing retained agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson was issuing links to this microsite to the media yesterday. Yesterday, Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy predicted that the BBC would dispute Primark’s ‘scathing’ press release. However, the BBC has, as yet, only issued a response to the ruling itself. Its statement read: ‘The BBC accepts the Trust ruling that there were serious breaches in its editorial procedures in the preparation of the Panorama programme Primark – On The Rack’ (Source: Cartmell 2011 np link).

After 3 years, a lengthy investigation by Primark and a comprehensive review by the BBC Trust, the BBC Trust has confirmed that this footage was fabricated and the programme should never have been broadcast. The website explains how this happened and what Primark had to do to expose this false claim and clear our name (Source: Primark 2011a np link).

Last week, in an announcement that effectively pre-empted publication by The Observer of this investigation, Primark announced it had sacked three of its clothing suppliers in India after being told by the BBC's Panorama programme of evidence that it was subcontracting labour to child workers. ... The firm ... said it had made the statement to fulfil a responsibility to shareholders, not - as cynics suggested - to lessen the shock of an international expose. The retailer said that, as soon as it was alerted to the practices over a month ago by The Observer and the BBC it cancelled new orders with the factories concerned and withdrew thousands of garments from its stores. The speed at which Primark acted may mean that its standing in the high street remains secure, its reputation repaired before many of its customers will have even noticed it was tarnished (Source: McDougall 2008a, p.22 link).

‘The BBC came to us with very serious allegations about the conduct of a small number of factories that sell to Primark which we investigated immediately and very thoroughly,’ a spokesman for the company said. ‘What we found left us with no option but to drop those factories - no rightminded person would have done anything different.’ War on Want, the charity behind today's protest, says that such precipitous action is just a public relations stunt, and leaves potentially hundreds of garment workers in an even worse position than before. ‘The problem is not over for the people who are going to be in jeopardy now because of these cancelled contracts,’ Simon McRae, a senior campaigner at War on Want, said. ‘It may be over for Primark's PR, but it won't be for those whose livelihoods are under threat.’ Although the company says it will continue to buy from authorised suppliers in the same region and the overall value of its orders will not change, War on Want claims that the only responsible reaction to allegations of exploitative labour practices is to engage with the companies involved. ‘Primark's response undermines its commitment to the ethical treatment of workers - they are not interested in interacting with the suppliers, they just wanted to get it off the front page,’ Mr McRae said. ‘The company should be finding out what is going on and working with the suppliers to improve the situation. We are not saying that the company is not trying at all, but it has a long way to go, and if this is the way it responds the first time it comes across something going wrong, it doesn't set a good precedent’ (Source: Arnott 2008 p.36 link).

Since the programme was broadcast, Primark ... has taken steps to increase supervision of its supply chain by cutting the number of factories it uses and stepping up audits (Source: Leroux 2011 np).

They promised to employ an officer in Indian to monitor production (Source: Anon 2008d np link).

Primark will also appoint a highly reputable NGO in Southern India as a partner to act as its eyes and ears on the ground, continually investigating how and where garments are made, to identify any unauthorised sub-contracting ... Primark will continue its own factory inspections and unannounced visits and those of SGS ... Primark supports some 2 million people through its supply contracts. However, Primark also recognises that further progress must be made to improve working conditions in developing nations. As part of its contribution to this process, the company is announcing today its intention to establish the ‘Primark Better Lives Foundation’, which will provide financial assistance to organisations devoted to improving the lives of young people. In addition to the initial funding Primark is endowing the Foundation with any profits made from the affected garments (Source: Anon 2008e p.1-2 link).

War on Want condemned Primark's ‘cut and run’ approach that meant responding to Panorama's findings by terminating contracts with three suppliers, which could cost hundreds of jobs and a loss of income to needy families. Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: ‘Pressure on Indian suppliers to deliver fast fashion at rock-bottom prices has made sweatshop labour inevitable. ‘Again and again, scandals exposing UK retailers exploiting garment workers underline that the public cannot trust stores to police themselves. ‘It is high time the British government introduced regulation to stop this shameful abuse.’ The Irish conglomerate, which sells one in every 10 items of clothing bought in Britain and has nearly 170 stores nationwide, has now removed all the garments manufactured by the Indian manufacturers. In a prepared statement, Primark, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, said the sub-contracted work on a ‘small number of designs’ was taking place without its consent or knowledge. It said: ‘Under no circumstances would Primark ever knowingly permit such activities whether directly through its suppliers or through third party sub-contractors. ‘Primark takes this lapse in standards in its embroidery supply chain very seriously indeed. In addition to sacking the factories at fault, Primark has taken urgent steps to further tighten control of suppliers’ (Source: Williams 2008 p.3 link).

Anti-Poverty campaign group War On Want has criticised the chain for terminating the contracts and said it could cost hundreds of jobs. However, Primark has told just-style that the decision followed a 12-month investigation of the plants, which was merely accelerated by findings identified by the BBC. ‘They [War On Want] haven't taken the trouble to fully understand the case,’ said Geoff Lancaster, the head of external affairs for Primark parent company Associated British Foods.’Our normal practice is to work with suppliers to improve standards, and we spend GBP770m a year in the developing world as a force for good. ‘We have a comprehensive audit programme and our standard practise is to work with the supplier when they are not up to scratch. ‘We had done this for 12 months with the Indian factories involved but in the end there was a lack of transparency on their part. They broke that trust and there wasn't any point in carrying on with them.’ Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: ‘Pressure on Indian suppliers to deliver fast fashion at rock bottom prices has made sweatshop labour inevitable. ‘Again and again, scandals exposing UK retailers exploiting garment workers underline that the public cannot trust stores to police themselves. ‘It is high time the British government introduced regulation to stop this shameful abuse.’ Primark feels it has taken the brunt in a number of planned exposes on the fast fashion supply chain, including the well-publicised BBC series Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts, which showed six young fashion addicts experiencing life as factory workers in India. This was due to be followed up by a Channel 4 documentary called ‘The Devil Wears Primark’. Lancaster went on to ... [say]: ‘We have been singled out because of our success. The biggest misconception out there is that just because an item is cheap that it is unethical. ‘You can still produce with value and in an ethical way manner. There are people within the supply chain that are caught using mal-practice, but these suppliers try to work for everybody in the business, not just us’ (Source: Ayling 2008 np).

... a Channel 4 programme about Primark, due to be shown earlier this month, was withdrawn and has not been broadcast (Source: Anon 2008a np).

Primark's reaction - ditching their suppliers - is not the answer, according to Sumi Dhanarajan, an Oxfam senior policy advisor. She says: ‘Dumping the supplier doesn't work any more. Consumers know too much now about ethical trade to realise that it doesn't solve the problem for the children. They do not necessarily go to school when the factories are closed. ‘This is a moral issue. The responsible thing would be to work with the company to look at how they can move children back into education - striking a deal with suppliers where children work for a shorter time so they can go to school.’ ... ‘Now consumers should demand answers from retailers as to how goods are produced and look within themselves at how they spend cash’ (Source: Fletcher 2008 np link).

The problem ... is that just straight dis-engagement helps no-one. Effectively it is running away from the issue rather than trying to manage it. Primark have already said that they have cancelled contracts with those companies shown in the program, which means Primark is effectively boycotting them but the point is that they could have managed the situation better by monitoring the companies better and enforcing their ethical policy. That way people involved don't just lose their livelihoods (Source: NotAPrayer 2008 np link).

Disengagement (i.e. boycott) might not be the best method as the documentary highlighted. But the programme also said that primark had laid off the workers featured on panorama. In such a case, where a company refuses to have some standards, regulations and change their policies to pave the way for ethical trading - they deserve a boycott. Primark COULD have not laid off these workers and actually engaged with the people on the ground and have some regulations than cut and run (Source: publicist 2008 np link).

This depiction is reminiscent of the Gap exposé last October which revealed child labour in unknown subcontracted factories. As we commented last year, if Gap could be caught in a situation like that, after developing arguably one of the most comprehensive ethical trading programmes in the industry, any company sourcing from India could be caught out. Clearly controlling supply chains is well-nigh impossible. We at Impactt think that it is time for another approach.  The need is to identify these informal supply chains, which after all provide some income for very poor people, to develop ways to keep adults in the supply chain, but working under better conditions and to support working children back to school, whilst maintaining the family’s income. Primark’s response to the allegations has been to drop three suppliers for using undeclared subcontractors. Primark have a point here, since the suppliers are in breach of their agreement – however, walking away is never going to solve the problem. This type of action will leave adults without jobs and the children caught in the media glare in an even more vulnerable position. To be fair, Primark has announced its intention to establish the ‘Primark Better Lives Foundation’, which will provide financial assistance to organisations devoted to improving the lives of young people; whether or not this will address the needs of the children found in their subcontracted factories remains to be seen (Source: Buttle 2008 np link).

Hi Martin [Buttle], We do agree that working with suppliers must be the priority if the value of out investment in the developing world as a supply source (£700 million) is to benefit those who put in the effort. The three suppliers we sacked had all been audited at least once recently were all apparently complying with a remediation / improvement programme we had given them and were all deceiving us by using unauthorised subcontracting. Trust and transparency had broken down. Enough was enough. We will continue working in Tamil Nadu and have announced a range of measures to both tighten up our inspection procedures and to help the local people as grass roots level, Geoff (Source: Lancaster 2008 np link).

Low-priced Irish company Primark was dismissed as an ETI member after a documentary featuring footage of child labourers making merchandise sold by the retailer was broadcast (Source: Goworek 2011 np link).

[Primark is] Now in the top 10 of ETI member brands, up from Improver status last year. This reflects strong growth in auditing, remediation and training ...The Ethical Trading Initiative graded Primark ‘Achiever’ status. (The four categories being Beginner, Improver, Achiever, Leader). An achiever is categorised as a company which is ‘achieving sustainable improvements in working  conditions and respect for worker rights by engagement with suppliers, trade unions, governments and customers. These actions are informed by, but go beyond its supplier assessment programme’. Of the 59 corporate members of the ETI, Primark is now ranked in the Top 10 (joint 9th) and its progress is well-ahead of its peers when set against length of ETI membership ... We have improved the efficiency of our supplier selection process. All new suppliers must meet certain core standards, assessed through an audit, before approval to produce our goods is granted. We are conducting more than a significant number of factory audits - 1266 in 2010 compared to 1,136 in 2009 and 533 in 2008. This was well ahead of our target of 1,000 audits for the year. We are on target to conduct the same number in 2011, supported by more intensive remediation and training (Source: Primark 2011b p.1 link).

I wonder what Mantheesh is doing this morning? Whatever it is, I hope that it is safe and productive and that she is happy. Mantheesh is the 11-year-old Tamil orphan who featured in last night's Panorama special, Primark on the Rack. Seated among piles of garments intended for the cut-price fashion store that has both revolutionised the way we shop for clothes and unleashed ethical angst about their provenance, we saw her sewing sequins on to a shirt. Shy and smiling, the little girl, who lives in a refugee camp, said that ‘in a good day'' she'll make 40 rupees (60p). Chances are that ‘good days'' for Mantheesh have come to an abrupt end as a result of the programme. In a pre-emptive action to the screening, Primark announced that it had dropped three of its suppliers in India for sub-contracting out to child labour, cancelling millions of pounds in orders. So where does that leave Mantheesh and all the other children who were making a living of sorts for themselves and their families? Last night, a spokesman for Panorama was unable to tell me, while Primark trots out the promise to fund organisations that work to improve the lives of young people ‘including those identified by the BBC''. I hope that is the case. None of us would condone any child being forced to engage in exploitative labour. But what if the alternatives are starvation or hard, physical labour, bonded labour, pornography or prostitution? Organisations such as Save the Children say that abruptly closing down a chain of supply can push the youngest and most vulnerable workers into desperate measures and far more hazardous work. The advice is not to stop buying, but to buy responsibly and to keep asking questions of the retailers about their products. But hasn't Primark missed a great opportunity here? Instead of the knee-jerk sacking of its rogue suppliers on the grounds that ‘no right-minded person would have done anything different'', why didn't it stick with them and demand changes to their working practices. Surely that would have the greatest impact, commercially and in PR terms. It certainly would have been of the greatest long-term benefit to children like Mantheesh (Source: Hunt 2008 p.22 link).

Primark: On the Rack has prompted a major debate across the internet on the fashion industry and use of child labour. More than 1,000 people emailed the BBC’s Have Your Say debate over the last few days. There has also been fierce discussion across a range of social networking sites and on YouTube (Source: Anon 2008f np link).

Primark has been hit hard on many forum and review sites, blogs, and also on YouTube where there are many videos with comments threads, and much discussion around their ethical stances and claims (Source: Jones et al 2009 np link).

BBC One's flagship current affairs programme ... Panorama has conducted ground-breaking investigations, such as Primark On The Rack, for which it received the Royal Television Society award for home current affairs (Source: BBC 2009 np link).

The RTS said it ‘went the extra mile to lay bare the whole chain from refugee camp to high street rail’ (Source: Methven 2011b p.8 link).

Television investigations into retailers are proving increasingly controversial. Last week the BBC Panorama documentary Primark: On the Rack was ruled to include faked footage after a three-year inquiry. The BBC Trust decided the footage of three boys working on Primark garments in dire conditions in Bangalore, India, which was aired in June 2008, were ‘more likely than not, not genuine’. The BBC has until July 7 [2011] to report to the BBC Trust what measures it will take to prevent further breaches of its editorial guidelines. Primark said it will wait until this time to decide whether it will push for damages (Source: Goldfingle 2011 np link).

[The Trust] concluded that it was more likely than not that footage used in the June 2008 edition of Panorama, entitled ‘Primark: On the Rack’, was not authentic. This will come as a positive decision for many corporate entities that find themselves the subject of reports by investigative journalists, and will help ensure that any such reports will be scrutinised accurately and fairly. ... Although this process has clearly been a protracted one for Primark ... overall this is a welcome result in terms of protecting corporate reputations from potential damage by evidence which is not sufficiently scrutinised by a broadcaster prior to broadcast. This appeal may therefore help shape the BBC Editorial Guidelines and complaints process to further ensure that actions of corporates are more fairly represented in future (Source: Barty & Hardy 2011 np link).

The BBC Trust, the corporation's governance and regulatory body, today told the corporation it must broadcast an apology to the fashion retailer after finding ‘serious failings’ in the making of the award-winning Panorama documentary Primark: on the Rack (Source: Sweney 2011 np link).

The trust apologised for ‘this rare lapse in quality’. Given the ‘serious nature’ of the breach, the corporation must air an apology on BBC1 at the beginning or end of a Panorama programme, the trust ruled. An apology will also run on the Panorama website and the documentary is not to be sold or repeated ...The trust has also requested that the corporation ‘considers its position’ over the Royal Television Society award won by the documentary in 2009 (Source: Robinson & Sweney 2011 np link).

The BBC has handed back the Royal Television Society award it won for a Panorama documentary on Primark's working practices after the BBC Trust found ‘serious failings’ in one section of the programme ... The BBC said on Monday ... ‘We acknowledge that a serious error was made and therefore it would be inappropriate to keep the RTS award’ ... . BBC management has been asked to ‘report back on the lessons learned’ from the episode to the trust by 7 July (Source: Halliday 2011 np link).

Because the complaints process has taken some time to resolve, the BBC has already made significant progress in tightening its procedures when it comes to filming in undercover situations ... We note that the Trust supported the central thrust of the programme, which was that there was clear evidence that work was being outsourced from factories in India in contravention of Primark's own ethical trading principles (Source: BBC 2011 np link).

As a result of the ruling, the BBC will ensure that all staff involved in the making of the programme - and more generally staff involved in investigative reporting - understand their responsibilities when it comes to authenticating evidence. These additional safeguards should ensure that the BBC maintains the standards our audiences expect but should also protect our journalists against claims which may be false but which are impossible authoritatively to disprove (Source BBC 2011 np link).

While the ruling offers some assurance that the corporation takes accusations of false reporting seriously, PROs are divided as to whether it has also discredited the reputation of Panorama. 'This admission batters the credibility of what has been a well regarded programme,' says Cathcart Consulting CEO Jackie Elliot. Lewis' head of editorial David Brown agrees: 'Anything that endangers trust in Panorama is bad as it could lead to public scepticism.' But others, like Lexis' head of corporate, James Thellusson, believe the long-term impact of the fiasco will be minimal. 'Most viewers will forget the detail soon or decide that the value of the programme outweighs the occasional slip,' says Thellusson. Being featured on an investigative news programme like Panorama is not always undesirable for brands. As Edelman's director of strategy, Stefan Stern, argues: 'It's good to get attention from a prestigious programme. Companies should want to engage. Why wouldn't you co-operate if you have nothing to hide?' When ‘Primark: on the rack’ was initially broadcast, the high-street retailer launched a microsite aimed at consumers where it responded to the allegations, because it did not feel it would be represented fairly on the programme. It also presented its response to the BBC Trust's findings on its microsite. Brown says: 'The recent tactic to undermine the credibility of the footage with a concise, hard-hitting video on a microsite was good.' But he adds that finding out the allegations as early as possible can help in forming a response. Thellusson argues that starting a dialogue with a programme like Panorama is always a good place to begin: 'Listen first, ask questions second and then try to establish a conversation. It always makes sense to talk. You want to know what is being investigated.' Panorama's editor Tom Giles says he would prefer this approach: 'It's better to have a contribution from the company concerned rather than hearing from a PR spokesman or simply having a written statement from them.' But Elliot advises the best possible rebuttal is transparency and proof of innocence: 'Proof of innocence using third parties as well as senior management is likely to make it impossible for an investigation to develop legs' (Source: Kaba 2011 p.15 link).

‘We are so nervous about making sure that we are accountable for our licence fee, lots of us producers are worried about settling,’ a producer inside the BBC says. ‘It has got to the stage where we can't take on certain investigations. A lot of the high-profile undercover work has been dropped from documentaries ... The Secret Policeman, The Secret Agent - our undercover filming of the BNP. It's too risky now - we are nervous about broadcasting anything that has a serious chance of ending up in court.’ ‘As well as the financial implications of fighting cases, there is a general fear about how it will affect the BBC's image,’ he adds. ‘We are scared of both.’ The BBC dismisses these fears. ‘We don't recognise libel as one of the risks of journalism,’ says the spokesman, citing programmes such as Primark on the Rack  ... . ‘The fact that a few cases are settled doesn't influence our approach.’ The fears over libel reporting come as, in a separate development, Britain's laws attract increasing international attention. Some have claimed that London is developing an industry for ‘libel tourism’ because of the relative ease with which complainants can sue. In an influential article last week, American attorney Floyd Abrams argued that many UK libel claims would never have succeeded under US law due to the onus on the claimant to prove malice. ‘Under American law, there could be no credible claim made . . . unless (the claimant) could demonstrate that (the defendant) had acted negligently or worse and the work done to prepare the story would be admissible (indeed central) on that issue,’ he wrote (Source: Hirsch 2009 p.7 link).

Compliance is in the headlines again after the BBC Trust ruled that Panorama's Primark: On The Rack contained footage that was probably not genuine. After an on-air apology this week, the BBC has been asked to examine its ‘safeguards’ and ‘practices’ to mitigate against such ‘serious editorial failings’. Thanks to a spate of media scandals over the past decade, and a subsequent tightening of procedures, compliance is already a huge topic of debate. ... there appears to be a groundswell of opinion blaming compliance for what the IBT called an ‘increasingly risk-averse culture within broadcasting that is stifling creativity’. It's hard to square the Trust's findings with views of compliance within the industry. Earlier this month, via an anonymous online survey, we spoke to 75 executives, company owners, producers, directors and production managers to try to get a broader set of opinion. The findings make for compelling reading. According to the survey, two-thirds of programme-makers think that compliance currently has either a negative or very negative impact on creativity. This is particularly true among freelance producers and directors (67%) and senior executives (68%). On the flip side, only 16% think compliance has a positive or very positive impact. ‘Having editorial changes imposed upon a programme as decided by a set of generic rules is likely to negatively impact what could have been produced with a free (experienced and sensible) rein,’ one producer/director from London succinctly declared. For some parts of the industry, however, it is not compliance or compliance advisers that are to blame, but the interpretation of the compliance advice in the corridors of commissioning power. One owner of a factual indie said: ‘Contractual form filling and legal checks are a natural part of broadcasting. What has happened, especially at the BBC, is that its executives have self-censored. The results are clear on screen: safe, dull programmes. It is not compliance or the editorial policy team that is the issue, but the 'vision' and ambition of the BBC commissioners.’ Another London-based factual indie boss agreed: ‘Commissioners second-guess compliance officers, making a bad situation worse. Certain broadcasters seem hell-bent on bringing in a privacy law via compliance and do not take enough consideration of freedom of expression.’ One corollary of this 'perception' of a compliance-focused commissioning agenda is its impact on the programmes and ideas being offered. The good news is the majority (77%) will still pitch an idea to a broadcaster regardless of whether or not they think there will be potential compliance issues further down the line. The bad news is that 23% won't, and as many as 37% admit to watering down an idea during development because of potential compliance issues. A senior executive at one London indie that makes factual and current affairs shows said: ‘Anything risky goes to C[hannel]4 first. If it says no, then a 'safer' version goes to the BBC.’ It's the kind of comment that might make interesting reading for BBC editorial policy and standards director David Jordan after his assertion that ‘we have no evidence of indies taking ideas elsewhere because of what is described as a climate of fear’. But the really bad news is that a whopping 59% said they had self censored a show during production, which sounds worrying, especially when juxtaposed with the data about the impact on creativity (Source: Strauss 2011 np link).

IT was their ability to rapidly interpret catwalk looks and sell them at rock-bottom prices that made them essential fashion destinations. But now there appears to be a backlash against so-called ‘fast fashion’. Last month, the BBC Panorama undercover investigation programme Primark On The Rack exposed child labour, with young Indian children working long hours for little pay in foul conditions to finish off our high street clothes. The programme resulted in demonstrations and condemnation, and according to fashion buyer Sarah Murray, of Thistle Street store Jane Davidson, our appetite for pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap clothing is waning. ‘There has definitely been a shift and I think the media awareness surrounding the way these clothes are made has helped a great deal,’ she says. ‘It's no longer fashionable now to buy unethical clothes. ‘A couple of years back it was almost cool to reveal just how little your outfit really cost when someone commented on how great you looked, but actually it's not cool - especially when you realise that a child working in horrific conditions made it. ‘So there is most definitely a backlash. That's not to say everyone is going to rush out and buy designer, but people are becoming more conscientious and discerning. Let's face it, you can't make clothes for that money unless you do that’ (Source: Howden 2008 p.1 link).

Panorama’s accusation ... was damaging to Primark’s reputation (Source: Primark nd np link).

‘It is very difficult to know if it harmed sales - Primark has been very successful in the intervening period - in terms of reputation that is why we pursued it,’ said [Paul] Lister, who is company secretary and director of legal services at Primark's parent company Associated British Foods. He said any Google search using terms such as ‘Primark’ and ‘child labour’ continues to return ‘thousands’ of references to the company - even though the documentary first aired over three years ago - ‘all as a result of this programme (Source: Sweney 2011 np link).

What are we meant to dooo?! I wish someone would tell me :| If I get what I would buy from another shop, who can guarentee they are not doing the same thing?!! (Source: siddy_06 2008 np  link).

Please everyone shop ethically (Source: Gordon 2008 np link).

It's true that if enough people are prepared to boycott these stores then we might get some positive action, it's consumer led either way. ... me? i'm going elsewhere for my boxers and socks (Source: Seperatist 2008 np link).

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Compiled by Kate Adley, Richard Keeble, Pippa Russell, Noora Stenholm, William Strang and Tuuli Valo, edited by Eleanor Bird and Ian Cook (last updated March 2013). Page created for as part of the ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ module, University of Exeter.

*NB please see Cook et al (2018) for an explanation of the 'Primark on the rack 2013' photos in the LEGO series. The story continued.