BBC chief tells staff not to air its difficulties in press and social media
BBC journalists have been told not to publicise its difficulties over Newsnight’s inaccurate claims that a former senior Conservative was guilty of child abuse.
In an email to staff, the new acting head of news Fran Unsworth said last night: “It would be helpful if some of our problems were not played out publicly across social media and in the pages of the national press.”
Since the crisis, a number of senior journalists, including political editor Nick Robinson and business editor Robert Peston, have frequently commented on the issue.
On Monday, Mr Peston revealed that two senior executives, Helen Boaden and Stephen Mitchell, had not wanted to stand aside when the BBC indicated otherwise.
“We now need to restore some equilibrium to the organisation,” Ms Unsworth said. “We need a collective and collegiate sense of all pulling together to restore trust in the BBC’s news output.
“We would rather events had not worked out this way, but with our colleagues on the news group board, we will collectively do our very best to lead the division through these difficult times. We are relying on the support of all of you to achieve this.”
Peter Johnson, head of BBC Northern Ireland, who had temporary responsibility for vetting Newsnight as it prepared its controversial report, said that he will not stand down. Mr Johnson (46), who has a background in marketing, is on the BBC’s management board at national level. He has a salary of approximately £150,000.