Wednesday 28th January 2004 The Hutton Report was published and the snow hit!

The Six o’ clock news on the BBC

Not surprisingly since the BBC’s own integrity was under scrutiny and its impartiality and accuracy was being examined, tonight’s broadcast was almost completely overtaken by the publication or the Hutton Report.

The government was completely exonerated and the BBC heavily criticised for its editorial staff not checking the accuracy of Gilligan’s claims and the reliability of his source.

In the immediate aftermath Gavyn Davies chairman of the Board of Directors resigned.

The news broadcast was slightly extended to 6:32 pm with only a short break of 2½ minutes devoted to the weather and otherwise solely dominated by different aspects of the Hutton Report.

To ensure the viewing audience not get bored there was a huge variety of linked items: Andrew Marr, George Eykyn, Nick Higham among other reporters headed up reports on the findings of the report or the BBC’s response to it. Video footage archive and from this afternoon in the House of Commons; interviews with journalists; prepared statements from the Kelly family and the Board of the BBC; scenes in the background from the lobby of the house of commons, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, inside the BBC’s own newsrooms as journalists watched the live coverage as Lord Hutton delivered his verdict on BBC News 24

Lord Hutton’s findings have extremely important consequences for the BBC’s reputation as an impartial, accurate and trustworthy newsgathering organisation.

Gavyn Davies later implicitly criticised Lord Hutton’s conclusions particularly the suggestion that all sources should be thoroughly checked out and substantiated. Davies wonders if this wouldn’t hamstring the BBC in the future unjustifiably and at the cost of investigative reporting.


Did you find this information helpful?