Turbulence spreads at BBC

Turbulence spreads at BBC

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Turbulence spreads at BBC

BBC employees arrive for work at the organization’s building in London. AFP photo

The BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, have stepped aside amid the crisis over late television star Jimmy Savile and a report wrongly accusing a politician of child abuse, the BBC said yesterday.

They have relinquished their responsibilities pending the results of an inquiry by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard into why the flagship Newsnight program axed a report last year into claims that Savile had sexually abused children. The announcement follows the resignation on Nov. 10 of BBC director-general George Entwistle over another Newsnight report last week that wrongly implicated a senior political figure in abuse at a Welsh children’s home in the 1970s.

 The BBC also warned in a statement that further heads may roll. “Consideration is now being given to the extent to which individuals should be asked to account further for their actions and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken,” it said.

The broadcaster also came under fresh pressure after it emerged that Entwistle would receive a payoff of $715,000 after just 54 days in the job.

Entwistle’s final action as director-general was to order a review into last week’s botched Newsnight program into abuse at a children’s home, headed by Director of BBC Scotland Ken MacQuarrie, and this has now reported back. In response, the BBC said a decision had been taken to re-establish a “single management to deal with all output, Savile related or otherwise” to address what it described as “the lack of clarity around the editorial chain of command.”