Belfast Telegraph

Savile: Newsnight chief steps aside

Newsnight editor Peter Rippon has stepped aside after the BBC said his explanation of why the show dropped its investigation into the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal was "inaccurate or incomplete".

He has handed over control of the flagship current affairs show while an inquiry into how the BBC handled the scandal is carried out.

Earlier this month, Mr Rippon defended his decision to axe the report in a BBC blog but the corporation has now issued a correction.

He originally said there was no evidence staff at the Duncroft approved school could have known about allegations Savile abused children, but the BBC said: "In fact some allegations were made (mostly in general terms) that some of the Duncroft staff knew or may have known about the abuse."

Mr Rippon also said the women who spoke to Newsnight journalists had already spoken to police, but the BBC now says that is untrue and Newsnight actually uncovered new evidence about Savile's alleged crimes.

The corrected blogpost also said that while no allegations were made BBC staff "were aware" of Savile's behaviour, Newsnight did hear allegations of "abusive conduct on BBC premises".

A BBC spokesman said: "On the basis of material now available, it is apparent from information supplied by the Newsnight editor and programme team that the explanation by the editor in his blog of his decision to drop the programme's investigation is inaccurate or incomplete in some respects."

The Prime Minister said the announcement Mr Rippon had stood aside and that his account of why the programme was dropped was rewritten raised "serious questions".

It comes after excerpts from tonight's edition of Panorama highlighted the different explanations given by BBC bosses about the nature of the documentary and why it was dropped.

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