Thursday, January 29, 2004

So, at the end of what's possibly been the most traumatic day in the history of the BBC it's time to begin taking stock and to look at what the fall-out from the Hutton Report means for the future of the corporation -- and for journalism in Britain.

Whatever your opinion about the conclusions in the Hutton Report, it was hugely damning of the BBC. Nothing short of senior resignations would have satisfied the government, not to mention many of those who pay our wages -- the licence fee payers. The decisions of Gavyn Davies and then Greg Dyke to fall on their swords was good enough even for Downing Street. The government is no doubt reflecting tonight on a comprehensive knockout in its vicious punchup with the Beeb.

Despite what the doom merchants may say, the BBC and its journalism will survive this crisis. The implementation of new safeguards will slowly restore its reputation. And I'm sure that if a story on the scale of September 11th happened tomorrow, most British people would still look to the BBC for impartial and comprehensive news coverage, as I understand a Guardian survey will show tomorrow.

The public demonstrations by staff at the resignation of "Greg" -- as he always signed himself on his staff e-mails -- is hugely significant, a sign of his charisma and the genuine respect with which he is held within the BBC. In how many companies would the workforce down tools in a spontaneous show of support for their former leader?

But we still have not heard from one key player in this sorry affair.

That person was responsible for bringing this crisis about and for tarnishing the reputations of all of us who work for the Corporation.

Tonight, he is still a member of BBC staff.


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