'Truly shocking', 'shameful', 'disgraceful': Interview sparks outrage over BBC's treatment of Savile scoop journalists

The BBC's treatment of a journalist behind its original Jimmy Savile expose has been described as "truly shocking", "shameful" and "disgraceful".

Meirion Jones, Newsnight's former head of investigations, told Press Gazette in an interview – published this week – that he felt "everyone involved on the right side of the Savile argument has been forced out of the BBC".

His assertion was backed by reporter Liz MacKean (pictured with Jones, above), who told Press Gazette: “I didn’t feel encouraged to stay. I felt I would do better to work outside the BBC.

“There were still so many people who have been shown to be on the wrong side of the story who have stayed."

Newsnight's investigation into Savile was suppressed in the winter of 2011, shortly after his death. 

In October 2012, an ITV documentary – presented by Mark Williams-Thomas, who had worked on the Newsnight investigation – revealed that Savile was a serial sex offender.

The article, which was followed up in The Guardian, Times and Mail Online, has been shared on social media more than 2,000 times and the corporation has been widely condemned for its treatment on Jones.

In response to the interview, a BBC spokesperson said: "Meirion Jones has made his views known before and we have always been clear that nobody was forced out of the BBC for exposing the Savile scandal.

“The Pollard Report concluded, following a detailed investigation, that the decision to drop the initial investigation into Jimmy Savile was taken in good faith and not for any improper reason.”

Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick, who worked at BBC's Newsnight for 19 years before leaving in 2011, described Jones' story as "truly shocking"

Former BBC employment correspondent Martin Shankleman, meanwhile, described the treatment of BBC reporters behind the Savile investigation as "shameful".

And Colleen Murrell, a former BBC foreign duty editor, said the allegations mark a "sad state of affairs".

Elsewhere, Mark Watts, the editor of the investigative news agency Exaro, said the article was "damning".

Media professor Tim Crook described the situation as "worrying".

And Heather Brooke, who was part of the Telegraph team which exposed the MPs' expenses scandal, said: "We should all be worried."

Comments

1 thought on “'Truly shocking', 'shameful', 'disgraceful': Interview sparks outrage over BBC's treatment of Savile scoop journalists”

  1. And of course the Sir Cliff Richards’ debacle with the holier than thou BBC stage managing the “expose” (??!!). Has there been an apology to Sir Cliff from either the Police or the BBC? Simple answer required – Yes or No.

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