BBC head of news “steps aside” over abuse scandal

LONDON,  (Reuters) – The two most senior figures at BBC News stepped aside yesterday a day after the chairman of the broadcaster’s governing body said it needed a radical overhaul to survive a child sex abuse scandal, it said.

Helen Boaden, the director of BBC News, and her deputy Steve Mitchell, stepped aside two days after the director general quit to take the blame for the airing of false child sex abuse allegations against a former politician.

The BBC’s press office said it could not yet confirm the news but the BBC said on its news website that there would be an announcement later in the day.

The development is the latest blow to the corporation, which has been thrown into turmoil by revelations about a historic child sex abuse scandal and the broadcaster’s problems with reporting the issue.

George Entwistle resigned as general director on Saturday, just two months into the job, to take responsibility for a report aired by the flagship Newsnight programme which wrongly accused a former politician of also being involved in child abuse.

Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, said on Sunday that he would work quickly to find a replacement for Entwistle while leading a radical overhaul of the corporation.

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