Outgoing Royal TV Society Boss Accuses BBC News Heads of 'Culture of Denial'

Simon Albury accuses executives over Newsnight report that incorrectly portrayed a working mother as unemployed


LONDON: The outgoing chief executive of the Royal Television Society has accused BBC News executives of "an unwillingness to address things that are manifestly wrong" over a Newsnight report earlier this year that incorrectly portrayed a working single mother as unemployed and dependent on benefits, according to the Guardian.

Simon Albury, a former World in Action producer, said there was a "culture of denial" at senior levels in BBC News as he expressed his frustration over the slow way the corporation dealt with complaints over Newsnight's May 23 interview by political editor Allegra Stratton with single mother Shanene Thorpe.

Within a week of the interview being broadcast an online petition asking the BBC to apologize had gathered 15,000 signatures. Newsnight editor apologized privately to Thorpe just over a week after the report was broadcast and the show published an apology on its website, but did not broadcast an on-air apology until more than three months later, the Guardian said.

Albury also linked this incident with the BBC's tardy reaction to the furor over Newsnight's abandoned Jimmy Savile investigation in late 2011 and subsequent treatment of Lord MacAlpine.