Category: News / October 22, 2012 12:57 PM EDT
A crisis gripping Britain’s BBC deepened on Monday after it emerged a senior producer had warned the broadcaster could be accused of a cover up. Allegations that flamboyant BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, who died last year, operated unhindered as a pedophile for years while working for the BBC have rocked the publicly funded broadcaster.
New Director General George Entwistle is now under pressure to explain why the BBC dropped an investigation by its Newsnight program into Savile last year. Speaking to the media Monday, Entwistle avoided answering questions about whether he thought it was wrong for the BBC to have pulled the Newsnight program:
"I'm afraid I can't make any comment on the Panorama because I haven't seen it yet. But there will be a BBC statement later this morning, touching on some of the issues raised. I will of course be taking questions at the culture select committee tomorrow. And then there are the two independent reviews that we've set up, one looking at Jimmy Savile's activities over the past decades and the Pollard review looking at exactly what happened on Newsnight and I expect to make a full contribution to those,"
A Newsnight producer behind the investigation, Meirion Jones, said he had warned his editor that the BBC was at risk of being accused of a cover up if it didn’t run the story:
"I was sure the story would come out one way or another and that, if it did, the BBC would be accused of a cover-up. In fact I wrote an email to Peter saying, "The story is strong enough and the danger of not running it is substantial damage to BBC reputation",
Police investigating alleged abuse by Savile opened a criminal inquiry last week; saying more than 200 victims had come forward. Entwistle is due to appear before parliament on Tuesday to answer what are likely to be tough questions about the case.