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BBC crisis deepens

Vidya Ram London | Updated on November 12, 2012

Tim Davie, takes over as acting Director-General

The crisis at the BBC continued to deepen on Monday as the organisation announced that its director and deputy director of news would be stepping aside. It follows the resignation of Director-General George Entwistle over the weekend, just 54 days after he took over the role, over his handling of a news programme that falsely implicated a former senior politician in a child abuse scandal.

Helen Boaden, who has been the BBC’s Director of News since 2004, was responsible for the news channel and Website, as well as many of its reputed programmes, including Newsnight, the now controversial flagship current affairs programme which has been at the heart of the organisation’s recent woes.

Report pending

Both Boaden and her deputy have given up their responsibilities until the conclusion of a report into why Newsnight dropped a programme looking into sexual abuse allegations going back several decades involving the late television presenter Jimmy Saville.

Their resignations were not, however, linked to the latest story, also on Newsnight, which wrongly implicated Lord McAlpine, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, in abuse that had taken place in a care home in Wales.

Acting head

Tim Davie, who has taken over as the BBC’s acting Director-General until a permanent head can be found, said that it was his job to get a grip of the situation and take action to establish clear lines of command in the organisation’s news division. “If the public are going to get the journalism they trust from the BBC I have to be very clear on who is running the news organisation,” he told the BBC. “The BBC is all about trust...if we haven’t got that we haven’t got anything.”

The BBC needed a “thorough structural radical overhaul,” Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said over the weekend.

Still, controversy continues to linger, including the year’s salary of £450,000 (Rs 3.9 crore) that Entwistle will receive after less than two months in the job.

Published on November 12, 2012

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