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BBC director general George Entwistle said late Saturday he is stepping down amid widening scandal at the public broadcaster.
Entwistle had only taken over the top post at the public broadcaster in mid-September.
Earlier in the day, Entwistle had issued an apology as the BBC’s flagship late night news program Newsnight drew further questions about its editorial decision-making.
The apology to a British politician came after the show had wrongly implicated him in a scandal about alleged abuse of children at care homes in Wales. While it hadn’t mentioned his name, Twitter users deducted who the report had referred to. The source of the allegation later retracted it.
Entwistle Saturday morning ordered a probe into what went wrong in the Newsnight investigation and suspended any investigative reports by the show. Newsnight is already under investigation for its decision late last year to drop a report on abuse allegatiions against former BBC host Jimmy Savile.
The Newsnight issue comes after the BBC’s standing has been shaken by allegations that late former BBC host Jimmy Savile had abused young people during his time at the broadcaster, including on its premises.
In a statement issued late Saturday, he explained his decision to resign.
“In the light of the fact that the director-general is also the editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast…I have decided that the honorable thing to do is to step down,” Entwistle said. “When appointed to the role, with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However, the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.”
The BBC didn’t immediately name a new head.
“To have been the director-general of the BBC even for a short period, and in the most challenging of circumstances, has been a great honor,” Entwistle said. “While there is understandable public concern over a number of issues…we must not lose sight of the fact that the BBC is full of people of the greatest talent and the highest integrity. That’s what will continue to make it the finest broadcaster in the world.”
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