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UK PM David Cameron joined the chorus of criticism of the BBC saying the corporation had “serious questions to answer” about why it in effect changed its story on the reasons why it dropped a Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile abuse allegations.
“The developments today are concerning because the BBC has effectively changed its story about why it dropped the Newsnight programme about Jimmy Savile.”
The BBC announced on Monday that Peter Rippon, editor of Newsnight, was stepping aside while an investigation was conducted by Nick Pollard, former head of Sky News.
The BBC also said it had made three corrections to a blog post by Rippon that aimed to clarify the reasons for axing the programme. The blog now states that the programme had received some allegations of abusive conduct on BBC premises. Previously Rippon’s blog had said Newsnight had no evidence against the BBC.
The latest developments have prompted a formal response from the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s governing body, which described the inaccuracies as “deeply concerning”, and confirmed that Pollard’s inquiry would investigate how they came about. The BBC Trust chairman based his answers in an interview in the BBC Media Show on the original blog.
Meirion Jones, the Newsnight report producer, is quoted by the Panorama investigation aired on Monday as saying that he told his editor on December 7 that “the story is strong enough” and by not running it there would be “substantial damage to BBC reputation.”