News / Europe

Crises Overshadow BBC's 90th Anniversary

BBC in Turmoil at 90th Anniversaryi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
November 14, 2012 6:26 PM
This week marks 90 years since the BBC's first radio transmission was aired in 1922. But the landmark anniversary has been overshadowed by a series of crises that have rocked the broadcaster in recent weeks, toppling the director general and bringing the publicly-funded body's future into question. Selah Hennessy reports for VOA from London.
Selah Hennessy
This week marks 90 years since the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, produced its first radio transmission in 1922.  But the landmark anniversary has been overshadowed by a series of crises that have rocked the broadcaster in recent weeks, toppling the director-general and bringing the publicly-funded body's future into question.  

Stewart Purvis, a former chief executive of ITN, a rival to BBC news, said the BBC is currently facing a challenge unlike any it has dealt with in its 90-year history.
 
"The theme that has run throughout the history of the BBC has been about the relationship between the BBC and the government of the day - there have been a number of points in history when there has been tension," noted Purvis. "This is not about that actually.  It is absolutely about the relationship between the BBC and its listeners and viewers. And that is why some people think it is the biggest crisis there has been, this crisis of trust."

Sex scandal

The late TV entertainer Jimmy Savile is now at the center of a pedophilia investigation in BritainThe late TV entertainer Jimmy Savile is now at the center of a pedophilia investigation in Britain
x
The late TV entertainer Jimmy Savile is now at the center of a pedophilia investigation in Britain
The late TV entertainer Jimmy Savile is now at the center of a pedophilia investigation in Britain
The current crisis began in October when allegations emerged over a longtime BBC presenter, Jimmy Savile.  Police now believe Savile may have abused as many as 300 people over four decades, including underage participants on BBC programs.  The BBC was criticized for failing to make public its own investigations into Savile.

It emerged that in 2011, shortly after Savile's death, the BBC had been due to broadcast a program about sexual abuse allegations against the former presenter.  But the show was shelved and instead tributes to Savile were aired.  It took a British commercial broadcaster, ITV, to air the allegations one year later.

Those events had already raised questions about decisions being made at the BBC.

Then early this month its news program Newsnight aired a show falsely accusing a British politician of child abuse.  It later emerged the politician had been misidentified and Newsnight made an unreserved apology.  

Purvis said the mistakes show that some major changes need to take place at the BBC.

"I think the fact is the current crop of BBC leaders are not up to the job," he said.  "There will have to be a new regime at the BBC and if that regime is any good it will win back the trust."

Firings

Already heads have rolled as a result of the crisis.

BBC Director General George Entwistle, Nov. 10, 2012.BBC Director General George Entwistle, Nov. 10, 2012.
x
BBC Director General George Entwistle, Nov. 10, 2012.
BBC Director General George Entwistle, Nov. 10, 2012.
After just 54 days in the job director-general, George Entwistle resigned his post.  The head of news and her deputy have also stepped aside.

In answer to a question during a BBC broadcast interview, BBC Chairman Chris Patten said his organization has to reform. 

"If you are saying, does the BBC need a thorough structural radical overhaul, then absolutely it does and that is what we will have to do," Patten acknowledged.

On the street, opinion about how this has affected trust in the BBC appears to be mixed.

"I think we should value the BBC.  It is a fantastic institution," one woman said.

"We do not really trust them as much as we used to," admitted another BBC viewer.

Now, the BBC appears to be working hard to win that trust back.

You May Like

Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Unlikely Before Monday

Tension builds over possible indictment of white police officer in shooting death of black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current Russian-backed rebels’ fight in east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid