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BBC did not pressure news show over Savile -report

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 19 Dec 2012 12:02 GMT
Author: Reuters
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LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The BBC did not put pressure on its flagship news show to drop a sex expose into Jimmy Savile but staff emails published by an inquiry showed that some knew about a "darker side" to the former star even as they prepared a tribute programme.

News of Savile's crimes threw the BBC into turmoil, with the world-renowned broadcaster facing accusations that it shut down an investigative report into Savile in favour of a laudatory programme after he died last year.

Police say Savile is now suspected of 199 crimes mostly involving children. The scandal resulted in the resignation of its director general just 54 days into his job and provoked awkward questions for his predecessor Mark Thompson, who recently took over as chief executive of the New York Times .

An independent inquiry published on Wednesday said it had not found any evidence that senior managers at the BBC applied pressure on the editor of the "Newsnight" investigations programme to drop the expose.

However it said the broadcaster had failed to handle the revelations around the former star due to poor management which resulted in chaos and confusion. Thompson was cleared of any wrongdoing.

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