If you’re the subject of a media investigation, you will probably be the last to know.

Over recent weeks I have been helping a client who has been the subject of a lengthy investigation by broadcasters. The client was informed of the allegations just a few days before an interview was required even the facts are complex and research is required.

By their own admission the programme-makers had mostly filmed and edited the programme.  All they wanted was a concise response to fit neatly into an allocated slot and hey presto – they would have a “balanced report” and could claim to have discharged their obligations of fairness.

Make no mistake –this is profoundly UNFAIR.  Broadcasters have managed to operate this way becomes companies are unaware of their rights under both the BBC Editorial (in the case of BBC programmes) and Ofcom Guidelines.

Contributors are entitled to know the detail of the allegations, of those making them and to see the evidence.  Question areas – if requested– will give a clear indication of the angle the programme is taking.  If the allegations are significant contributors have the right to have an appropriate time to respond even if it inconveniences the programme-makers and disrupts their travel plans.

More than this, although the broadcaster will maintain editorial control, there are many circumstances in which contributors can be given access to the footage.

As a former producer and director I know that this proactive approach by contributors can significantly water down or even prevent the broadcast of programmes.  The situation comes about because programme-makers only approach the subject of their investigation at the last minute. Consequently they are largely unaware of information from the company that undermines their investigation.

The result is often death by a thousand cuts, which is profoundly frustrating for broadcasters who have invested time and money in an investigation but necessary where the report is flawed.

For further information and help please contact www.hawkeyemedia.co.uk