Newsnight to apologise for 'misleading and unfair' Help for Heroes report

 

Newsnight is tonight set to broadcast an on-air apology after mistakenly accusing the charity Help for Heroes of misspending cash.

It is the latest in a series of bungles made by the BBC’s flagship TV current affairs programme.

In December 2011, Newsnight decided not to broadcast a report revealing sex abuse claims made against Jimmy Savile – leading to allegations of a cover-up. In November last year Newsnight broadcast false child abuse allegations against an individual who was later identified on Twitter as Lord McAlpine. This led to a £185,000 libel payout.

Tonight's on-air apology will state: "Following an investigation by its Editorial Complaints Unit, the BBC now accepts that its coverage was misleading and unfair to Help for Heroes.

"The BBC gave the impression that Help for Heroes was responsible for shortcomings in the provision of support to wounded veterans. The Editorial Complaints Unit found no evidence to support this suggestion.

"Although it was legitimate to report the concerns of veterans, the BBC portrayed criticisms about overall support by a number of agencies as specific criticisms of Help for Heroes. This unfair impression was reinforced by our coverage of the story in other outlets.

"In addition, the Newsnight report contained interviews with two contributors which were edited in a way which misrepresented their views.

"Although a representative of Help for Heroes took part in a studio discussion which followed the Newsnight report, the response of Help for Heroes to the criticisms wasn't properly reflected. This contributed further to the unfair impression of Help for Heroes, for which the BBC wishes to apologise."

It was revealed today that Guardian deputy editor is take over as Newsnight editor later this year.

Meanwhile, former World At One editor Jamie Angus – currently acting deputy editor of Newsnight –  has been announced as the new editor of Radio 4's Today programme.

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