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December 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Nick Pollard

The BBC has come in for withering criticism in a 185-page report by Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News, about the decision to axe an investigation by its flagship newsmagazine Newsnight that would have revealed that the late Jimmy Savile, once one of the public broadcaster’s most celebrated hosts, had sexually abused children. It came in for additional censure for its handling of the repercussions of the decision after rival ITV aired a similar expose about Savile. “Most worrying,” said Pollard was the BBC’s “complete inability to deal with the events that followed.” He accused BBC executives, including its lawyers and corporate communications team, of incompetence in their effort to get to the truth behind the Savile story for over a month. He pinpointed a blog created by Peter Rippon, Newsnight‘s editor, to justify his decision to spike the story. Although it contained several errors, he observed, it took three weeks to correct them. “The preparation of the blog can only be described as chaotic. When clear leadership was required, it was not provided,” Pollard said. Following today’s (Wednesday) release of the report, the BBC announced that it had replaced Rippon, moving him to another position within the corporation, and that Stephen Mitchell, deputy director of news, had resigned. Helen Boaden, the BBC’s director of news, who had stepped aside while the Pollard investigation was being conducted, will return to her job. In response to the report, the BBC said that it would be the top priority of Tony Hall, who is due to take over as director general of the BBC in March, to reform its leadership.