22 Oct 2012

BBC in crisis over Savile as Newsnight editor ‘steps aside’

Foreign Affairs Correspondent

The BBC says Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon will “step aside with immediate effect” pending an investigation into the decision to drop the programme’s report into allegations against DJ Jimmy Savile.

Peter Rippon's blog on 2 October: Newsnight and Jimmy Savile
Newsnight's blog on 22 October: Jimmy Savile and Newsnight - a correction

“On the basis of material now available, it is apparent from information supplied by the Newsnight editor and programme team, that the explanation by the editor in his blog of his decision to drop the programme’s investigation is inaccurate or incomplete in some respects.

“The BBC regrets these errors and will work with the Pollard Review to assemble all relevant evidence to enable the review to determine the full facts.

“In addition, the BBC has announced that Peter Rippon is stepping aside with immediate effect from his post while the review by Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News, into the management of Newsnight’s investigation, is carried out.”

Meanwhile, BBC Director General George Entwistle has written to staff telling them of the corporation’s decision. Mr Entwistle will appear in front of a House of Commons committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the scandal.

The BBC has told Channel 4 News Newsnight editor Peter Rippon has not quit the programme: “Peter Rippon isn’t on gardening leave nor has he left – he remains editor, but will not be editing the programme pending the outcome of the independent investigation,” said a spokeswoman.

The news follows intense pressure on the corporation to act after claims a planned Newsnight investigation into allegations of child abuse against Jimmy Savile was dropped in favour of tributes to the entertainer following his death in 2011.

Mr Rippon maintained the report was spiked for “editorial considerations”.

In a statement, the BBC said: “The BBC has today issued a correction to the blog by the editor of Newsnight, Peter Rippon.


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