Sunday, April 22, 2018

BBC scandal puts pressure on to restore trust

LONDON — The bungling of reports that powerful Britons sexually abused children has thrown one of the largest and most respected broadcasters in the world into a deep crisis.

The head of the BBC's governing body called Sunday for an overhaul of the broadcaster. That could mean many things for the sprawling organization that has long emphasized its obligations to the public.

Last month, the BBC drew fire after it emerged its "Newsnight" program had shelved an investigation into child sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile, the broadcaster's renowned TV host, who died last year.

Police say that since their investigation started they have received complaints from some 300 victims of the platinum-haired, tracksuit-wearing Savile and associates — and that some of the abuse may have occurred on BBC premises.

Amid public outrage, BBC director general George Entwistle announced internal inquiries into why the "Newsnight" investigation was canned as well as the BBC's "culture and practices" during the years Savile worked there.

But then, "Newsnight" wrongly implicated a British politician in a sex-abuse claims program that aired Nov. 2.

The criticism reached fever pitch, and Entwistle resigned Saturday. A day later, Chris Patten, the head of the BBC's governing body, called for a "thorough, radical structural overhaul" of the broadcaster.

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