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BBC's news director, deputy 'step aside' in fallout over false sex abuse report

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:40 AM EST, Mon November 12, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news, is stepping aside pending an internal review
  • Boaden's deputy, Steve Mitchell, also stepped aside, the BBC reports
  • The review is examining a BBC report that falsely implicated a former political official
  • The BBC also faces criticism over its handling of allegations against Jimmy Savile

London (CNN) -- The British Broadcasting Corporation's director and deputy director of news have "stepped aside" pending an internal review over a report that falsely implicated a former senior political official in a child sex scandal, the media organization said Monday.

It is the latest fallout over the report that has rocked one of the world's oldest and most respected media organizations, and the move follows the weekend resignation of George Entwistle as BBC's director general.

News director Helen Boaden and her deputy, Steve Mitchell, have been asked to "surrender all their responsibilities" pending the outcome of the review, the BBC reported.

On November 2, BBC's Newsnight aired the sex abuse claims against a senior political figure of the 1980s. Days later, the victim admitted he identified the wrong man.

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The BBC aired on apology on Friday, but it did little to contain the fallout from the false accusation.

It was the second major crisis to hit the BBC within months.

In late September, the BBC became embroiled in a scandal over its handling of sexual abuse allegations against its late TV presenter Jimmy Savile.

The scandal exploded amid revelations that BBC's Newsnight pulled a report into allegations against Savile ahead of a planned tribute to the late TV presenter by the news organization scheduled to air later this year.

Entwistle and others were called in front of lawmakers to answer for the scandal surrounding Savile, who authorities say was suspected of having sexually abused young women and girls, sometimes on BBC premises.

Boaden served as director of BBC News when the decision was made to pull the Savile report, the BBC reported.

"Ms. Boaden has overall editorial and managerial responsibility for UK-wide and global news and current affairs on radio, television and oneline," according to a BBC report.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report.

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