UK & World News
BBC Report: 'Unacceptable' Failings At Newsnight
A report into a BBC programme which mistakenly implicated a senior politician in a child abuse scandal has found a number of "unacceptable" failings.
Ken MacQuarrie, director of BBC Scotland, was asked to investigate the November 2 edition of Newsnight, which led to Lord McAlpine, the former Conservative treasurer, being wrongly accused of abuse at a care home in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
His report found that "some of the basic journalistic checks were not completed", and that there was "ambiguity around who was taking the ultimate editorial responsibility".
The Corporation said it would take "clear and decisive action ... to restore public trust in the BBC's journalism", adding disciplinary proceedings "will begin immediately".
The BBC Trust described Mr MacQuarrie's findings as "very concerning", and said "serious failures in the normal checks and balances that the Trust expects from BBC journalism" had been identified.
A spokesman for the BBC said: "The next stage of this process is now underway.
"It will, amongst other things, seek to clarify decision-making roles and responsibilities in relation to the Newsnight report.
"We expect that these investigations will be concluded as quickly as possible."
Newsnight did not name Lord McAlpine in its report but speculation on the internet forced him to issue a statement on Friday, denying his involvement.
George Entwistle resigned as the BBC's director-general one day later and will receive a £450,000 pay-off - a year's full salary in lieu of notice after just 54 days in the post.
Under the terms of his contract Mr Entwistle was entitled to only six months' pay.
However, the BBC Trust said the additional payment had been agreed as a reflection of his continuing involvement with the various BBC inquiries now under way.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the amount was "hard to justify", while Culture Secretary Maria Miller told the House of Commons that the National Audit Office has the power to undertake a value-for-money review into the pay-off.
Meanwhile, Tim Davie, the BBC's acting director-general, told Sky News he has begun the job of rebuilding trust in the public broadcaster.
He said: "The key here is to have a very clear line of journalistic control to me.
"This is about establishing clear lines of responsibility in our journalism and I think I'm in a good position to do that.
"We've had a major problem over the last few weeks. I need to grip that, but the people I'm putting in charge I absolutely trust and they are very strong journalists.
"We need to rebuild trust and that is what I'm going to do."
In other developments, the BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, both stepped aside, although neither were involved in the Newsnight investigation.
Iain Overton has resigned as editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which worked with the BBC on the report.
His tweet that a programme "about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile" was about to be broadcast was retweeted more than 1,500 times.
what do you think?
They should be de-nationalised, the News Of the world had to stop. So should the BBC.
The news of the world committed criminal acts for years and would not hesitate to destroy lives just to sell another rag. Newsnight made one mistake. No comparison
Grant is speaking on behalf of the Conservative government. You should realise that by now david.
Why isn't Patten facing the boot, I thought he was in charge.
He is only head of the trust, not the corporation.
He chose entwistle, he should go too. He also ok'd sickening payoff.
He is a Conservative. High up in the Thatcher regime. Fifth columnist for 'the party'.
Down with the beeb
All these attacks on the BBC what are you going to replace it with,we have Best drama, Best sport coverage, Best nature series =on and on .No advertising interruptions. The news room could improve but the establishment only want us to hear half truths and threaten to cut the BBC`s budget if not obeyed.
Best sports? Since when? They long since lost most live football, test match cricket, terminated Grandstand after decades. They no longer merit the licence fee. Privatise them, make them reflect supply and demand better
Maybe best nature, but not best documenatries overall. no way best sport, i feel really let down by the way they go wimbledon crazy, its all they have left. Hosestly, i would rather have no bbc service in my house and 148 quid in the bank. Let us chose, its only fair.
Get rid of the BBC and we will be overrun with tacky media under the control of dangerous individuals like Berlusconi's media empire in Italy.
Beeb plus side, no bl**dy adverts, commercial TV has made me a merekat and opera hater.
the bbc looks so far up its own backpassage in an effort to be seen to be politically correct it can no longer see the wood from the trees and has employed third rate staff becusae of what they look like
Get rid of the BBC and we will be overrun with tacky media under the control of dangerous individuals like Berlusconi's media empire in Italy. This would restrict objectivity rather than increase it, and would only result in the dumbing down of serious debate about important social and political issues. As can be seen in Italy the media represents the interests of the government and the wealthy. It ensures that the masses are satisfied by feeding them trash (cf.'Big Brother', 'I'm a Celebrity...' to name but two. No mistakes the BBC could ever make deserve this, no matter how much the government would like this to happen. And we must not allow the BBC smokescreen to distract us from the real issue - the years of abuse suffered by defenceless individuals in care homes. Any attempt to smear them by rags such as the Daily Mail should be dealt with in the severest manner.