BBC star quits 'awards dinner for arms dealers'

Corporation admits attendance of Security Correspondent at event was not appropriate

Frank Gardner, the BBC security correspondent, has pulled out of an "arms dealers' awards dinner", amid concerns that his appearance as master of ceremonies could compromise the Corporation's impartiality.

Gardner whose legs were partly paralysed after he was attacked by al-Qa'ida gunmen in Saudi Arabia, accepted an invitation to be a guest at the Counter-Terrorism and Specialist Security Awards (CTSS), at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington next month.

The awards are part of Counter Terror Expo, a showcase for defence and arms manufacturers, held at the Olympia exhibition centre. Gardner had also agreed to address the delegates on international terrorism and threats.

The CTSS awards include categories for best supplier of armoured vehicles and "most cutting-edge surveillance tool". They will be attended by "companies from across the counter-terrorism, defence and security arena".

The dinner guests, paying £156 each, will enjoy a champagne reception, four-course meal and live entertainment "into the early hours". Gardner was advertised as the "master of ceremonies".

The organisers of the two-day expo say it will "provide outstanding business opportunities for companies specialising in ... weapons and ammunition". Exhibitors include leading arms companies such as Northrop Grumman and Chemring Defence, the British firm that manufactured some of the tear gas used last year by Egyptian security forces battling pro-democracy protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) complained to the BBC about Gardner's decision to accept the invitations. Describing the awards as an "arms dealers' dinner", CAAT said surveillance technologies, of the type to be celebrated at the CTSS awards, had been used for internal repression. The Syrian regime relies on technologies that allow it to monitor the movements of resistance fighters.

In its complaint to the BBC, CAAT wrote: "It is shocking that a supposedly impartial BBC correspondent is fronting a dinner of arms company executives – an industry whose activities elicit widespread public revulsion."

The BBC said that due to the extent of Gardner's involvement in the event, it was now not considered appropriate for him to attend. Gardner, who had permission from his BBC manager to speak at the expo, has withdrawn from both the awards and his speaking engagement at the trade fair's conference.

Gardner, 50, was left for dead after being shot six times in Riyadh in 2004.

Dinner guests: The arms firms

General Dynamics British arm of US-based firm agreed deal to upgrade military equipment for an elite Libyan government security brigade.

Chemring Defence British contractor produced CS gas canisters fired at civilians by Egyptian security forces in Tahir Square.

L-3 Security & Detection Systems A division of $15bn surveillance and communications giant L-3 Communications.

Thales French aerospace and defence company paid fine of €630m in 2010 over bribes to win contract for 1991 sale of frigates to Taiwan.

Northrop Grumman US global aerospace company, world's fourth largest defence contractor.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas