16/11/2012 Newswatch


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It is now time for Newswatch. This week, your reactions to the crisis


Well come to Newswatch with me, Samira Ahmed. The biggest crisis


facing BBC News in a decade, how did it happen? Can the


corporation's journalism still be trusted? Does George Entwistle


deserve his pay-off? And has it all The BBC marked 90 years of


broadcasting this week, but there was not much of a celebratory air


around. The crisis started by a Newsnight report on care homes in


Wales which led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child


abuse allegations came to a head on Saturday night. A new crisis for


Newsnight. Tonight this programme apologises. A key allegation in a


report about child abuse was wrong. The victims says he was mistaken.


The wholly exceptional advance of the past few weeks have led me to


conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader. I have a job


to do, get a grip of the situation. The BBC deserves strong leadership,


that is what I want to bring. course they should have called me,


and I would have told them exactly what they learned later on. What


was that? That it was complete rubbish.


As a result of George Entwistle's resignation, the acting director-


general of his Tim Davie, and because of others stepping aside


pending inquiries, BBC news now also has an acting director, and


acting deputy director, and acting head of news-gathering, and acting


editors of Newsnight and of the Today programme. Clearly, or


reorganisation to be done there, but where should the BBC go from


here? Newswatch dealers have not We asked for an interview with a


BBC News executive but were told no-one was available. We can


discuss what viewers think about the events of the past week, and we


are joined by Terry Berry, who spoke to us about the Jimmy Savile


scandal, and Alex Giles. In Birmingham is Georgio Mystkowski,


and joining us from Salford is June Bennett. Terry Berry, what has been


your concern watching events unfold? I think it has been the


lack of clarity from management, the higher management, would regard


to... It seems to me that people are standing aside, while


investigations are going on. However, it was quite disturbing to


see George Entwistle given his notice after such a short time.


do not see a connection between who seems to have gone and be


responsible. Exactly, but from George Entwistle's point of view,


nobody gave him a head start that was so something so serious about


the programme that was going up. Somebody could have made the phone


call to say, look, this is what is coming your way. Although he admits


he did not look at this or that programme or read the newspapers,


surely somebody could have said, there is something going on here,


it needs to come across your desk. Where were the management? You have


a different concern, June, what was your view about the way the story


was covered? I think there was far too much attention being paid to


the difficulties at the BBC, who had mentioned somebody's name, and


the children were not considered. I mean, I was amazed that it was


aired on one programme, saying that Steve Messham was not a reliable


witness. I could not believe that anybody could pile that on top of


what he has lived through through all his life. So is there a bigger


concern that because of the attention being paid to BBC


managers resigning that the focus shifted off children who have been


abused? Yes, without a doubt. We have heard names, and we did see on


television people who had come forward, and they have come forward,


and you can see the anguish with which they felt, and these children


have spent all their lives feeling unclean, used, having nowhere to go,


and all of a sudden they could see a window, a window where perhaps


they could perhaps express how they felt throughout their lives up to


that point. They had been physically abused, but also


mentally abused, and to me they were the people who we should be


focusing on. The whole issue that we heard earlier, it did lead the


director-general to resign. You think that was the right thing to


do? Is the BBC moving on? Yes, I do. I would agree with everything the


previous speakers have said. My concern was particularly upon the


BBC and the trustees' understanding of the word honourable. On Saturday


night, the former director-general came on television with the


chairman, Mr Patten, stood behind him, and he made a statement that


he was resigning as editor in chief because it was the honourable thing.


I think the majority of people around the country would say, is it


really honourable for somebody to take one year's salary after 54


days when he should have been sacked? I just want the BBC to use


those words, like honour, integrity, all those key words, I want them to


use them so carefully, so that the viewers and the public start


believing again and start getting their commitment back to what the


BBC. Thank you. Alex, one of the practical effect of all this


decision-making, honourable or otherwise, is that Newsnight is not


allowed to make any investigative reports at the moment. What is your


feeling about that? I think they have been making a real meal of it,


frankly, and I think George Entwistle has got an expectation


and a right to expect his editors and his managers to be doing their


job. I notice that David Dimbleby said the director-general should


fight like a tiger for this organisation. There has not been


enough fighting? These are two programmes, ironically, one which


was maybe too wary, they sat on the story, they were too concerned


about who they were going to upset, and the other story more recently,


they jumped the gun, before they properly check the stories. Stuff


like that happens in journalism, surely, all the time, and what we


are seeing now is it being blown out of all proportion. I am not for


one moment saying that this identifying someone as a child


abuser or not listening to these children is not a serious matter,


but I do think there is a huge amount of news that is going out


from the BBC which is fantastic, and so much time is being wasted,


you know, with his inviting being played out in front of the viewers.


June, in a sentence, what would you like to see the BBC do now to win


back on confidence and trust? have not lost my confidence or my


trust. What I would like them to do is to try and work with agencies to


try and help these children, to try and help them move forward in their


lives, and to feel as if we are not letting them down. OK. The final


thing I would say is we all need to say to ourselves, if this was my


child, how would I feel? The same question to you, in a sentence.


What has been said is absolutely right that when it comes to abuse


of children, all too often the reporting is very salacious, it is


very focused on the abuser and the acts. It rarely focuses on the


carriage and the bravery of the young person in these instances,


but if we think about the young people who have the courage to


speak up, let's give them airtime which would encourage other young


people to speak up as well. Terry, again, briefly. I agree with what


has been said, but what troubles me is the clarity and getting to the


checks and balances that are in place, the structure, the


management processes, which allowed this to happen. It seems as though


people have stood aside, to use that word again, without coming


forward, and now it looks like the people are consulting lawyers about


statements, what they are going to say. They are afraid to come out


with a possible truth, what has happened, and that is where they


are something dark and sinister going on. So you need clarity on


the way that management is handling things. I would like to see them


get along with serving the public. It is such a great organisation


that we are all very proud of. will have to leave it there, but


all of you, thank you very much for While the reverberations of all


that will carry on for some time, you have had plenty to say about


other issues this week, too. One complaint focused on the practice


we discussed last week with regard to the US election of presenters


being sent on location to cover big Finally, this week saw the first


elections for Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales


with a mostly very low voter turnout, and we had some differing


Thank you for all your comments this week, positive and negative.


If you want to share your opinions on BBC news and current affairs, or


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