BBC chairman quits over Hutton report

The chairman of the BBC has resigned and the broadcaster apologised for some of its reporting on the buildup to the war in Iraq after an inquiry by a senior judge lambasted the corporation.

    Lord Hutton called the BBC's editorial policy "defective"

    The inquiry by Lord Hutton on Wednesday criticised journalist Andrew Gilligan, the BBC's management and its supervisory board of governors for a radio report saying the government "sexed up" intelligence in a dossier on Iraq's weapons. 

    Hutton said the BBC report was unfounded. He said the BBC's editorial system was "defective" in allowing Gilligan's report to air and the governors should have investigated it in the aftermath, during which weapons expert David Kelly was unmasked as Gilligan's source. 

    Gavyn Davies, chairman of the BBC board of governors, tendered his resignation after the publication of the report, with immediate effect. 

    Final decision

    "I have been brought up to believe that you cannot choose your own referee and that the referee's decision is final," he said in a statement. 

    "There is an honourable tradition in British public life that those charged with authority at the top of an organisation should accept responsibility for what's happened in that organisation." 

    The report also brought a public apology from BBC Director
    General Greg Dyke, who said: "The BBC does accept that certain key allegations reported by Andrew Gilligan on the Today programme on May 29 last year were wrong and we apologise for them."  

    Blair involvement

    "There is an honourable tradition in British public life that those charged with authority at the top of an organisation should accept responsibility for what's happened in that organisation" 

    Gavyn Davies,
    Chairman of the BBC board of governors

    Lord Hutton also said Prime Minister Tony Blair was "directly involved" with the naming of Dr David Kelly as the source of the BBC report.

    But Hutton concluded on Wednesday that Kelly took his own life and that no third party was involved.

    "I am satisfied that none of the persons whose decisions and actions I later describe ever contemplated that Dr Kelly might take his own life. I am further satisfied that none of those persons was at fault in not contemplating that Dr Kelly might take his own life," Hutton said.

    Hutton added he believed the government did not act in a "dishonourable, underhanded or duplicitous" way in revealing the identity of Kelly.

    The judge also said Kelly had acted improperly by meeting with Gilligan and had breached rules regarding employees' contacts with the media because he had not been given permission from his superiors to meet the reporter.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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