BBC director general, Tim Davie has said that personal error was to blame for the broadcaster interviewing the former lawyer of Jeffrey Epstein last month.
Alan Deshowitz was interviewed shortly after Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of trafficking young girls to Jeffrey Epstein.
Dershowitz has also been accused of sexual abuse by one of Epstein’s accusers but has denied the allegations.
The BBC later decided that the interview had breached its own editorial standards and they admitted after the interview that Dershowitz was not “a suitable person to interview as an impartial analyst”.
Tim Davie was appearing before the House of Lords communications and digital committee to answer parliamentarians’ questions about impartiality and the Serota review on editorial processes, governance and culture.
With BBC News in the midst of a programme of job cuts and restructuring, he was asked whether “centralization” had risked “amplifying” editorial errors.
Referring to the interview with Dershowitz, which happened in the week after Christmas, Davie said: “We looked at what happened but there was no investigation.
“We admitted immediately it was in breach of our editorial guidelines and straight away said it was a mistake. Then you get to why it was a mistake. You can argue a little bit in terms of the amount of seniority and cover we had during Christmas, during Covid.”
But he said: “This was simply about the amount of due diligence that was done by the planner and the knowledge level of the person who was putting the person on air.”
Davie told peers “not everything gets centralized” under the BBC’s plans to make savings.
The interview with Dershowitz, 83, was broadcast on BBC World News and the BBC News Channel, shortly after the Maxwell verdict was announced.
Dershowitz used the airtime to denigrate Virginia Giuffre’s claims against himself and Prince Andrew. Both men deny her allegations of sexual abuse. He was introduced on the news segment as a “constitutional lawyer” to provide analysis on the verdict – and his connection with Epstein and Ms Giuffre was not made clear in the interview.
Sources: BBC, Yahoo
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