BBC releases Jimmy Savile scandal transcripts


Today is a day the British Broadcasting Corporation has likely been dreading for quite some time, as 19 witness statements from the investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against former BBC host Jimmy Savile were publically released explaining why the investigation into his actions by BBC's Newsnight program was dropped before reaching the air.

The review was conducted in 2012 and criticized what the BBC did in its investigation. More than 3,000 pages of interviews and emails were released today, including interactions with high-level BBC executives. 

Statements from former BBC director general George Entwistle, his predecessor Mark Thompson (who now runs the New York Times Company as CEO), and BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten are the ones attracting the most attention from the British press, who have criticized the amount of redactions made in the transcripts.

"From the thousands of pages that are being published, redactions have been applied for a very limited number of legal reasons and roughly 3 percent of the transcripts have been redacted," the BBC said in a statement.
"The BBC has been open and transparent in its handling of this unhappy chapter in our history. It has not been an entirely comfortable process for us to go through, but it is right that we did it this way. It is important that the BBC now moves forward with the lessons learned and continues to regain the public’s trust," said acting director general Tim Davie.

Entwistle commented in the transcripts that Savile's death might have affected how the BBC handled the allegations against him.

"It was on people's minds, and I'm not surprised it was on people's minds," the transcripts read. "The prevailing culture was, you know, one of a funeral in which many tens of thousands of people had been out on the streets of Yorkshire marking his passing, and there was a sense of enthusiasm for him, for his life and his works. I would imagine that people were anxious about the notion of how quickly you could pile in after that and say there's another way of looking at this story."

"The libel risk was removed in respect to Savile, and of course that is an advantage," he also said. "But the need to be accurate and the need to have done your journalism properly would have been just as strong for somebody dead … I would not have seen that as meaning you could have lower standards of proof."

What do you make of this?

- Jimmy Savile
- BBC one

Written by: Hamatosan
Feb 22nd, 2013, 10:13 am

Images courtesy of BBC One

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