Following Kevin's posting about swearing on News 24, we also used the F-word on PM yesterday at about seven minutes past five in the afternoon. However, we did not do it by accident. We chose to do it.
Radio Four listeners expect adult journalism. We felt that Abdul Kahar's account of the first words the police spoke to him was a powerful punctuation point in the story he was telling. As such, it was a really important moment in the narrative and to lose it would have detracted from the impact. The word was also used a couple of other times in the news conference, but we felt that in those cases we could avoid using it because they were not so integral to the story.
So far we have had only two complaints. Very few. In the past we've had far more from listeners complaining we are being patronising when we've bleeped swear words.
We do try to avoid offensive language whenever possible. Each case is different. I recently apologised to listeners who were rightly offended that we had used the word "shag". In that case we got it wrong and the tone and context in which we used it were not justified. It was my fault. A producer asked me if it was OK to say shag and I assumed it was being used to mean exhausted or knackered. We ended up with a contributor advising the new England manager to make sure his players did not "shag prostitutes". It was completely out of context.