BBC’S CURRENT HEAD: SAVILE EXPOSE SHOULD HAVE AIRED
The current director general of the BBC has acknowledged that a planned report on its Newsnight program in which women accused a popular BBC host of sexually abusing them when they were children should have gone ahead. George Entwistle, appointed to the top BBC position last month, told a Parliamentary committee today (Tuesday) that after watching Monday night’s Panorama documentary about how the report about Jimmy Savile was spiked, “I came away … firmly of the view that that the investigation … should have been allowed to continue.” He later added, “On the basis of what I now know I am surprised nothing further happened with it.” The Panorama report detailed the frustrations of Newsnight reporter Liz MacKean and her producer, Meirion Jones, as the story they were developing about Savile encountered resistance from Newsnight‘s editor, Peter Rippon, who eventually ordered to halt it. “There was clearly some good journalistic material here,” Entwistle said. Rippon stepped down as the program’s editor over the weekend after a statement he posted on the program’s blog was attacked as inaccurate. Corrections to the blog post were posted on Monday. “I was very disappointed indeed to find out the blog turned out to be as inaccurate as it did, of course I was,” Entwistle said in his testimony. He further disclosed that the BBC’s own investigation of the allegations go beyond Savile’s alleged misconduct. He said that it is also looking into allegations of sexual abuse involving 8-10 other past and present BBC employees. He called it “a gravely serious matter.” But critics have demanded an independent investigation of the role of BBC senior executives who reportedly were aware of allegations about Savile’s behavior with girls who visited him in his BBC dressing room and at charity affairs but who apparently chose to ignore them. “There is no question that what Jimmy Savile did and the way the BBC behaved … will raise questions of trust for us and reputation for us,” Entwistle told the committee.