U.K.'s ITV Wins Three TV Journalism Awards for Jimmy Savile Coverage

Jimmy Savile Sex Abuse Scandal and BBC Leadership Crisis
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The BBC has faced one of its biggest image crises since a sexual abuse scandal surrounding late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile rocked the U.K. public broadcaster in September. The former host of BBC music chart show Top of the Pops is believed to have abused mostly young people, including on BBC premises. The BBC was further affected when it emerged that flagship news show Newsnight had dropped a probe into allegations against Savile in late 2011. And when Newsnight in early November also wrongly accused a former politician of abuse, George Entwistle had to resign as director general after only 54 days in the post. Incoming director general Tony Hall will look to repair the damage to the venerable broadcaster's reputation.

CNN International was honored as news channel of the year, while Channel 4 News won a record six prizes.

LONDON -- The U.K.'s ITV has won three Royal Television Society Television Journalism Awards for its coverage of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.

Its documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, which first made public allegations of his abuse against young people in the fall and kicked off a range of investigations by police and the BBC, won two awards at a ceremony Wednesday night: scoop of the year and best domestic current affairs report. ITV News also won a third award for its overall Savile coverage in the "news coverage, home" category.

STORY: U.K. Police: 214 Crimes, 450 Abuse Complaints Recorded Against Late BBC Host Jimmy Savile

The honors put the spotlight on ITV, which in recent years has sometimes been criticized for losing its edge in its news coverage. Following its Savile documentary, London police launched an investigation into allegations against the late former host of music charts show Top of the Pops and concluded that he was the worst pedophile in British history.

While overshadowed by ITV's success Wednesday night, BBC News -- which traditionally has a strong presence at the Royal Television Society honors -- won an international news coverage prize with its reports on the political situation in Syria and the specialist journalist of the year honor for Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.

CNN International was honored as news channel of the year. The awards jury praised the network for "its distinctive coverage and energetic and vivid reporting." It added: "They were ahead of the curve in Pakistan, interviewing Malala, the young woman who was shot by the Taliban, before she was injured, and their interview with FIFA president Sepp Blatter became a major news story revealing racism in [soccer] at the highest level."

Meanwhile, Channel 4 News earned a record six awards, including for daily news program of the year and best national host Jon Snow.

The Royal Television Society is a forum for TV and related media. Its awards celebrate "creative and excellent journalism in U.K. news and current affairs, both by organizations broadcasting in the U.K. and by companies which supply U.K. news broadcasters."