Leaked Savile Report: The BBC culture that failed to protect people from abuse


Dame Janet’s highly critical report on the BBC’s handling of Jimmy Savile leaked to me  pinpoints  very serious issues at the Corporation which are still not resolved.

The official response from Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, that this was a dark day for the BBC and it is all in the past does not wash.

Nor frankly does Dame Janet Smith’s plea to ignore this “early” draft. All the evidence  from people was taken before it was compiled and she has said she has not changed her conclusions. So will she rewrite it now?

Her draft report is not a whitewash. It is a closely argued analysis revealing a culture that allowed considerable sex abuse to flourish at ground floor level without a mechanism to report this to the top. This does not seem to have  changed and has conveniently let all the BBC’s top executives off the hook.

It reveals a  crass deferential attitude to celebrities – who could do anything they liked because they were ” untouchable” and people looked the other way. This is no different today – given the present cult of celebrity.

It also reveals an organisation that is more concerned with its public reputation that tackling the root of the problem- how to stamp out opportunities for sexual abuse.

Not only were under age  adolescents and children the victims of sexual abuse but so were  staff employed by the BBC – who did not complain because they wanted to keep their jobs.

And if anyone complained it seemed the BBC was woefully inadequate in investigating what happened – if it did indeed want to get to the real truth. That failure extended to its own investigations into the issue by its own investigative journalists who found their work dropped or sidelined.

When the BBC does publish the report it will have a lot of explaining to do. On the central issue of child sex abuse Dame Janet concludes that there could still be a paedophile lurking in the BBC and thinks the chance of this being exposed is now worse than then – because many people are on short term contracts and would worry if they could work again.

Her findings directly contradict a report commissioned by the BBC last year from the firm Good Corporation which praises the BBC’s policies in preventing a repeat of child sex abuse. Which is right?

Also it is still clear  the whistle blowing process at the BBC, is, at best, not properly promoted ( say the Good Corporation) or worse, virtually non existent  (  says Dame Janet’s review).

So I don’t think anyone should be fobbed off by complacent attitudes from the BBC and attempts to move the debate to the dim and distant past,. The BBC failed a group of survivors of sexual abuse by doing nothing then – and could be doing the same now.

Phone Hacking Trial: Brooks told witness it was easy to hack phones of the famous, court hears – Martin Hickman

Rebekah Brooks appears to be amazed how easy it is hack phones of the famous because they don’t have pin codes – but then why should they because they wouldn’t anticipate that their phones would be hacked.
Also note at the end of this report Rebekah’s unexplained request for a discreet meeting with her former lover Andy Coulson in 2011 just before he quit as David Cameron’s director of communications. The reference to not meeting at the Goring Hotel gives a great insight- it is a favourite with lobbyists, right wing journalists and some senior civil servants. They would be spotted.

Inforrm's Blog

Eimear CookDay 21 (Part 2): Rebekah Brooks told the wife of a professional golfer how easy it was to hack the phones of famous people, the Old Bailey was told today.  Eimear Cook said that Mrs Brooks had warned her of the ease with which voicemails could be eavesdropped over lunch at the house of mutual friends.

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Ex Met Police snapper to face Leveson Inquiry over cash offers to public officials

Lord Justice Leveson ; Pic courtesy Leveson Inquiry website

Update: There is a report today (wednesday) on the exaronews website (http://www.exaronews.com ) of today’s hearing where Matt Sprake  defends himself.

 Matt Sprake, the former Met Police forensic police photographer, has been summoned by Lord Leveson to appear  before his inquiry.

This follows the exposure by me on Exaro News website (http://www.exaronews.com)  and with Oliver Wright in the Independent last week.( http://ind.pn/M48suc ) which  revealed his http://newspics.co.uk  website was offering to pay thousands of pounds to police, prison and probation officers for tips on celebs having affairs. There is a new article on the site now.

Just to remind readers – as he has taken it down now – the wording included  the phrases:

Officials are told: “All sorts of people have been paid thousands of pounds by us for giving information that leads to a picture being sold or a story being written, are you a doorman, police worker, civil servant, probation officer, prison officer, nurse? Make some extra money without anyone ever knowing…”

The agency website has endorsements from the picture desk of The People, the red-top Sunday tabloid, OK magazine, the celebrity title, and the Press Association, the national news agency.

In a section headed “news exclusives”, the agency tempts public officials to provide details of “a scandal” or, “where a prominent person is living or what they get up to,” or, “a celebrity having an affair”.

“You can earn yourself good cash now by calling… 24 hours a day and remember, nobody ever needs to know it was you that told us!”

Mr Sprake’s forthcoming appearance was announced on the Leveson inquiry website this afternoon. Among those appearing on the same day – next Wednesday – will be Max Mosley.

Lawyers for the Levenson Inquiry had asked to see the articles on Exaro News and the Independent after they appeared. They have also examined his website.

So next Wednesday Mr Sprake will be able to explain in public exactly what is going on. He has also put a complaint into the Press Complaints Commission against the Independent  about  last week’s article. I look forward with interest to the next event.