Newspaper review: Fall-out from latest Savile disclosures


The BBC comes under scrutiny in many of Saturday's newspapers, after the corporation published thousands of documents given to its inquiry into the reporting of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The Daily Telegraph thinks they show the extent to which the BBC is "an unwieldy collection of feuding baronies in which managers are most concerned not with serving the public but with preserving their own status and reputation".

The Guardian sums up the response of senior managers as "chaotic, toxic, frantic".

The paper focuses on BBC chairman Lord Patten, who, it says, "appeared only too happy to attack the broadcaster", accusing the BBC of having "more senior leaders than China" and bosses of "frantic faffing about".

The Times describes the infighting at the top of the corporation as "civil war", and accuses the BBC of sparing key individuals by redacting material.

The Daily Mail is also more concerned by what was not published - showing numerous examples of pages with blocks of text blacked out.

"So much for BBC transparency," says the paper.

'Excruciating detail'

But the Daily Mirror is prepared to give the benefit of the doubt. "We trust statements were redacted for legal reasons, and not blanked out to save erring executives from embarrassment," its editorial says.

The Independent says the documents include "excruciating detail" of the "chaos and paralysis" that beset senior executives.

The Sun uses the initials BBC as inspiration for its headline: "Blame-dodging Back-stabbing Cover-up".

And the editorial columns have plenty of suggestions for the reform of BBC management.

The Sun says "a sweeping purge of time-serving, risk-averse executives" is needed.

"The rehabilitation of the BBC's shattered reputation depends on it," the paper believes.

'External perspective'

The Telegraph agrees, calling for its "bloated bureaucracy" to be dismantled to "create an organisation humbler both in spirit and ambition".

The Mail's editorial is angry that all but one of the executives involved have, it says, "either kept their jobs or been shuffled off to well-paid posts elsewhere in the corporation".

The Times also points out that "nothing has yet been restructured, no procedures are known to have notably changed".

It hopes the new director general, Lord Hall, will bring "clear leadership and external perspective".

The Independent's editorial suggests the BBC still has lessons to learn.

It notes that the newly-appointed director of strategy, James Purnell, "will not only receive a salary just short of £300,000, but will also qualify for up to two years salary if he leaves".

'Shackle press'

The Daily Mail devotes its front page, and several pages inside, to further sexual harassment claims about the former chief executive of the Liberal Democrats, Lord Rennard.

In a comment column, the paper suggests the reason the party wants statutory regulation of the press is to stop such allegations being printed.

"No true liberal would support the Leveson proposals to shackle free speech," the paper declares.

The Daily Express points out that Lord Rennard has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph leads with the widening of the horsemeat scandal, to include the catering firm Sodexo.

The firm's contract with Ascot race course provides the Daily Star with the opportunity to speculate that the Queen may have eaten horse at her favourite race meeting.

Bailed runner

Many papers feature the same picture of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius leaving court after being granted bail while awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The runner is grim-faced, plunged, says the Guardian, into a seemingly bottomless pit of despair.

The Times notes there was a single shout of "Yes" as the magistrate announced his decision.

In the Independent, South African author Justin Cartwright says the case shows flaws at the heart of the country - incompetent police, corruption at the highest level, and alarming signs of decay in society.

But the Telegraph's former Africa bureau chief, Tim Butcher, defends the country.

There are fewer guns per head than in the US, France, or Switzerland, and other countries have less than perfect police officers, he says.

Winners and losers

Finally, there are plenty of guides to Sunday night's Oscars.

The Times predicts who will win in the main categories - and who should win.

In all but one category - Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis - the answers are different.

The Guardian concentrates on Day-Lewis, who, should he win, will become the only actor to take the Best Actor award three times.

It would, says the paper, "confirm his position as one of the all-time greats".

The Independent notes that even the losers will be winners, as they will receive a goodie bag containing gifts worth nearly £30,000.

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