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BBC Boss Urged to Make Good on Anti-Harassment Reforms

Tony Hall - H 2012
Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Britain's National Union of Journalists says the public broadcaster hasn't implemented all measures recommended in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal.

LONDON – Britain's National Union of Journalists has called on the BBC to push through anti-bullying and harassment reforms promised last year in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.

It urged BBC director general Tony Hall to intervene to ensure that the internal reforms recommended in a review of the scandal are implemented, the Guardian reported on Friday.

In a statement, the union argued that the recommended changes have not been put into action as promised, saying it was "disappointed and angry."

The BBC said it was "implementing all ... recommendations and is leading the industry in the way it supports staff with complaints."

The union also said that some bullying cases, which the BBC started addressing early in 2013, have not been resolved to this day.

"With ambitious targets and a raft of new support for staff, we are committed to ensuring all complaints are dealt with as quickly and fairly as possible," the Guardian quoted the BBC as responding.

The union cited one specific case, in which it claimed the BBC had not tapped independent or outside reviewers to probe abuse allegations, with proceedings instead overseen by someone from within the same department of the BBC.

"It is not enough for the BBC to say it will bring in managers from other departments and divisions to investigate allegations. An outside body is needed," the Guardian quoted a representative of the union as saying.

Hall last year said that the harassment and bullying report provided for "uncomfortable reading" and vowed to have "zero tolerance of bullying," with the help of new training measures, mediation offers and support services.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai