News / Europe

    Crises Overshadow BBC's 90th Anniversary

    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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.