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Rupert Murdoch gleeful at BBC debacle in Britain

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm •  Published: November 12, 2012
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Because of its funding, "the BBC feels empowered" and "the scope of its activities and ambitions is chilling," said James Murdoch.

Phil Harding, the BBC's former controller of editorial policy, warned U.K. media to resist the temptation to criticize too much.

"If you really tear into another journalistic organization, what you are going to do is ... undermine public confidence in journalism," he said Monday at a Society of Editors conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

BBC chief George Entwistle resigned this weekend, and on Monday the head of news, Helen Boaden, and deputy Stephen Mitchell were temporarily removed from their positions, though the broadcaster said neither were implicated in the errors involving its child sex abuse reports.

The broadcaster also came under fire Monday for the terms of Entwistle's removal after only 54 days on the job. He is drawing a full year's salary of 450,000 pounds ($715,000).

"Clearly, it is hard to justify a sizeable payoff of that sort," Cameron's spokesman Steve Field told reporters. 

Iain Overton, who was involved in preparing the "Newsnight" story about the politician, resigned Monday as editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The organization, a nonprofit muckraking group based at City University in London that works with several news organizations, said the BBC story had been "strictly contrary to the fundamental principles and standards of the bureau."

Further resignations or suspensions at the BBC are likely as the investigation develops.

"Consideration is now being given to the extent to which individuals should be asked to account further for their actions and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken," the BBC said.

In New York, Mark Thompson, Entwistle's predecessor who was in charge when a BBC investigation into Savile's alleged abuse was sidelined, said Monday he is "very saddened" by the scandal at the broadcaster. Arriving on the first day of his new job as chief executive of The New York Times, he told reporters he has "no doubt it (the BBC) will get back on its feet."