Dyke 'bet' BBC's reputation on Gilligan

Panorama’s John Ware has criticised Greg Dyke and BBC executives for failing to launch a thorough investigation into Andrew Gilligan’s report on the Iraqi weapons dossier before responding to No 10 complaints, writes Sarah Boden.

His criticism came in the Panorama special, A Fight to the Death, shown on Wednesday. Ware, who presented the programme, said the director general bet the BBC’s reputation on a reporter it knew used “loose language”.

Speaking after an advance showing of the programme, Ware said BBC director of news Richard Sambrook had previously raised concerns about Gilligan’s reporting before the row over the “sexing up” of the dossier on weapons of mass destruction. Ware said these concerns related to Gilligan’s reporting from Baghdad.

Defending the show’s impartiality, Ware said: “We treated the BBC as an outside body and made criticisms when we thought the evidence merited it.”

He also denied that Panorama’s special on the Kelly affair was an attempt to pre-empt the Hutton Report, due to be published next week.

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