BBC journalist not to be prosecuted over care home investigation

The BBC’s Arifa Farooq, who took a job as a care worker for investigation, was arrested but will not face criminal case.

A BBC journalist who went undercover to investigate alleged abuses in care homes will not face criminal proceedings.

Arifa Farooq, 30, took a job as a care worker for Domiciliary Care South Lanarkshire as part of a two-month investigation into care providers for a Panorama special broadcast in April.

Farooq was arrested earlier this month after voluntarily attending Maryhill police station in Glasgow. She allegedly applied for jobs as part of the investigation using her sister’s name.

But the procurator fiscal in Glasgow has said no criminal case will be brought against her.

The BBC were quick to back Farooq today.

“We welcome this decision from the fiscal,” said BBC Scotland’s head of news and current affairs, Atholl Duncan.”This case had important implications for investigative journalism and we are pleased that it will not proceed any further.”

The decision not to proscute Farooq was also welcomed by the National Union of Journalists.

“It is an enormous relief for Arifa and her friends and family that the procurator has decided not to take this case forward,” said Pete Murray, NUJ vice-president and deputy father of the BBC Scotland chapel.

“Arifa deserved praise for what she did, not persecution. The Panorama programme was a classic example of investigative journalism at its best. It is important that journalists are able to go undercover when a story they are investigating is serious enough to warrant it.”

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: “This is a victory for media freedom. Congratulations to Arifa and her NUJ colleagues in Scotland who have been lobbying hard to stop this prosecution.”