BBC executives step aside after false sex abuse report

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By Sarah Barchus

The British Broadcasting Company's director and deputy director of news temporarily stepped aside from their positions the BBC said Monday, the Central News Network reported.

Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell's "stepping aside" followed BBC Director General George Entwistle's resignation after the BBC's "Newsnight" program on Nov. 2 falsely implicated Alistair McAlpine, a Conservative Party politician, in allegations of sexual abuse at a children's home in North Wales in the 70s and 80s, The New York Times reported.

The BBC said it wanted "to make it absolutely clear that neither Helen Boaden nor Stephen Mitchell had anything at all to do with the false Newsnight report, The New York Times reported.

"Whilst recognizing this, the BBC believes there is a lack of clarity in the lines of command and control in BBC News as a result of some of those caught up in the ... review being unable to exercise their normal authority," the BBC said, CNN reported.

Fran Unsworth, head of news gathering, and Ceri Thomas, the editor of the "Today" current affairs radio program, will manage the executive's positions until the review is complete, The New York Times reported.

Lord Chris Patten, the chairman of the supervisory BBC Trust, said that the BBC is in need of a structural overhaul. Although the decisions around the Newsnight report showed ""unacceptably shoddy journalism," Patten urged readers to remember the BBC as a reliable news source, The New York Times reported.

"The BBC is and has been hugely respected around the world," Lord Patten said. "But we have to earn that. If the BBC loses that, then it is over," the New York Times reported.

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