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If News International had employed Savile how different things would be

October 22nd, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized by

I see that Tory MP Philip Davies wrote a few days ago to Ofcom boss Ed Richards demanding that the BBC face a “Murdoch style” investigation “the BBC (should) face the test into their probity following the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations and the subsequent cover up that has emerged in the last few weeks“.

Spot on.

Given how (a) tardy and (b) inaccurate the BBC has been in supplying information to date on this issue and (c) the scale of the News International inquiry, we should all be demanding that the BBC should NOT be allowed to run its own “independent” reviews. If News International had been the orgnisation at the centre of this scandal we would rightly expect that any investigation be conducted, and overseen, by an arms length organisation. Indeed there would already be further widespread calls to investigate whether Sky/News International were “fit and proper” to hold a broadcasting license. We should expect no less a standard of scrutiny of a state broadcaster.

Phone hacking is a considerably lesser crime than any of the following (a) failing to take all available steps to protect children in your care, (b) failing to investigate thoroughly suspicions of abuse of minors by your staff, (c) failing to forward such serious suspicions to the police for investigation. These appear to be the very accusations that have already been laid at BBCs door.

Add to that, the deeply worrying incident of a Newsnight item on Savile being pulled. It has been said by the editor that the reason for not broadcasting the item was based purely on their belief that they had insufficient evidence to broadcast the item. Now we learn however, that the BBC has been forced to issue an embarrassingly lengthy correction to his blog saying it was “inaccurate or incomplete in some respects”.

Frankly, anyone who has ever worked in broadcast journalism will have already raised an eyebrow at the suggestion that an item had actually filmed before the decision was taken that there was insufficient evidence to broadcast.   There is also the serious question as to why they did not pass their files to the police? And we have yet to find out just how much George Entwistle (recently appointed Director General) knew of the Newsnight item. Maybe the BBCs Panorama documentary tonight will shed further light on the matter? Although I for one do not wish to be told by BBC journalists what actually occurred on Newsnight (and certainly not one as inept as this) any more than I want BBC appointees to tell me what occurred elsewhere.

All of this just feels too cosy for my liking. Who is willing to bet that we will see little more than a couple of token hacks hung out to dry (i.e. pensioned off),  much hand-wringing and an assurance that current  child protection and whistle-blowing policies are fit for purpose.

Not good enough in my opinion. We cannot have one rule for the state (broadcaster) and one rule for everyone else.  If phone hacking deserves a Leveson inquiry, then unchecked wholesale child abuse and journalistic cover ups deserves Leveson++.

In a shockingly lame reply to a question in the House last week, Nick Clegg said

“I certainly accept there may be a case for an inquiry and if an inquiry were to be held which is as broad ranging as you suggest it should be, it should be independent to look at the full range of the shocking revelations as they have come to light”

Not good enough Nick. Nowhere near good enough. What are you waiting for?

UPDATE: Excellent post here from Liberal England on how the BBC lied, and lied, and lied.

3 Responses to “If News International had employed Savile how different things would be”

  1. mackemkev Says:

    There seems to be plenty of terrified celebrities keeping their heads down, not least our political leaders who should be most strident about the need to investigate and root out such behaviour and those who have covered it up whilst looking the other way. It is ironic that this should be an issue that the leaders could be expected to leap upon to gain bonus points from the electorate but appear to be looking over their shoulders fearing a few own goals if they shout too loudly ?

  2. Psi Says:

    Agreed that the BBC can not be allowed to mark their own homework but you are wrong on one point.

    I am willing to wager that the report rather than:

    “much hand-wringing and an assurance that current child protection and whistle-blowing policies are fit for purpose”

    there will be some kind of statement that the policy lacked a committee of some form and a new committee will be created. Nothing will change but the BBC will claim it has taken action.

    If phone hacking justified Leveson (a judge with Ed Millibands wife’s collegue to ask the questions for him) perhaops an enquiry in to the BBC over this requires Kelvin Mckensie and Andy Coulson?

    This is really not looking good. The politicians seem totally oblivious to the serious concerns amoung the public on this one. The only one who has suggested an enquiry was Ed miliband and he calls for one of those if one of his eggs in his shopping from Waitrose is cracked.

  3. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Ha ha loving the idea of an enquiry headed up by McKensie and Coulson – they could put it on pay per view and the income earned would surely cover all costs of the enquiry and some !