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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid