The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a semi-autonomous public service broadcaster in the United Kingdom providing television and radio programmes. It is funded by an annual television licence fee charged to all British households, companies and organisations using the service. The fee is set annually by the British Government and agreed by Parliament. With more than 23,000 staff globally, it is the world's largest broadcaster. Founded in October 1922, it was initially privately owned but became a non-commercial entity in 1927. Its first transmission as the BBC went out in 1934, and an expanded service (now named the BBC Television Service) started from Alexandra Palace in 1936. It is governed by the BBC Trust and operates under a Royal Charter.
BBC’s director of news and deputy step aside
The BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, have “stepped aside” amid the crisis over Jimmy Savile and a report wrongly accusing a politician of child abuse, reports said on Monday.
The BBC press office told AFP it could not confirm the reports, carried on both the BBC News channel and its rival Sky News television, but an official announcement is expected within hours.
Acting director-general Tim Davie, who took over the top job at the public broadcaster following the dramatic resignation of George Entwistle on Saturday night, is expected to set out his plans to manage the crisis later on Monday.
According to the BBC report, Boaden and Mitchell have been asked to give up their responsibilities pending an inquiry into why an investigation by the Newsnight programme into claims of sex abuse by Savile was dropped last year.
There have been suggestions, which the BBC has denied, that the Newsnight report was axed because it would have clashed with a planned tribute programme to Savile, one of the BBC’s biggest stars who died in October last year.
The inquiry is being led by Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News.
Allegations that Savile may have abused up to 300 children over four decades, including while working at the BBC, have plunged the broadcaster into crisis.
The BBC’s problems were compounded when Newsnight, one of its flagship current affairs programmes, was forced to admit on Friday that a report the previous week implicating a senior political figure in child sex abuse was wrong.
Entwistle resigned on Saturday after just 54 days as director-general, saying he took responsibility for the Newsnight report even though he had not seen it.