BBC boss in strife over Savile tribute

By Ian Burrell

Director-general comes under pressure from MPs.

BBC director-general George Entwistle. Photo / Getty Images
BBC director-general George Entwistle. Photo / Getty Images

BBC director-general George Entwistle is fighting for his career as MPs demand to know how much he knew about the suppression of a Newsnight investigation into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and why he sanctioned tribute programmes to the late BBC presenter.

Entwistle's position was further damaged by the intervention of the Prime Minister who expressed concern over the BBC "effectively changing its story" by suddenly denouncing a blog by the Newsnight editor Peter Rippon, which had been the corporation's official version of events for the past three weeks.

The BBC said Rippon was "stepping aside" from his role "with immediate effect" as it admitted "errors" in the BBC website blog, hours before yesterday's damning Panorama documentary exposing the way the BBC has handled the Savile scandal. Panorama conducted interviews with two Newsnight journalists who contradicted claims by Entwistle and other senior BBC figures that their story had been intended as a narrow piece on Surrey Police's treatment of Savile.

Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean said they had been conducting a wide investigation into child sex abuse by Savile. MacKean said the story was quashed following "an abrupt change of tone" and Jones claimed that "we weren't asked to get more evidence ... we were told to stop working on the story". Their claims will fuel suspicion that Rippon was put under pressure by more senior colleagues to kill the story.


More tabloids sued

Two more tabloid newspapers have been dragged into the phone-hacking scandal with former England football manager Sven Goran Errikson among four people suing the Daily Mirror and the Sunday People.

A nanny to David Beckham's children, Abbie Gibson, has been joined by actress Shobna Gulati of Coronation Street and former Blackburn Rovers captain Gary Flitcroft in seeking High Court damages from the People. Both titles are owned by the Mirror Group. Until now, phone hacking allegations have related only to Rupert Murdoch-owned papers.


- Independent

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 21 Sep 2014 03:27:00 Processing Time: 421ms