Liisa Rohumaa on BBC Radio Solent Drivetime
13 November 2012
Lecturer in Online Journalism at BU Liisa Rohumaa was on BBC Radio Solent’s drivetime show, speaking about the current BBC crisis and George Entwistle’s decision to resign as Director General.
His decision to resign after just 54 days in the post came following a Newsnight programme which featured unfounded accusations of abuse by a Conservative politician at a Welsh care home in the 1980s.
"My first thought about it, and over the last couple of days, is that they made a terrible mistake," Liisa told presenter Steve Harris.
"They made a mistake by doing too much publicity about it, talking about a high–ranking Tory caught up in a paedophile gang. They didn’t make the libel themselves – and I think that is something we should be clear about – but it is the implication.
"We know about social media, we know about the dangers of social media – and yet people went out there and a witch–hunt began and Lord McAlpine was incorrectly identified."
Liisa, who is a lecturer for the Multimedia Journalism course at BU, said that this – combined with the previous Jimmy Savile scandal and George Entwistle receiving a Â£450,000 pay–off – didn’t show the BBC in a particularly good light.
But she added: "I think once the dust has settled and everybody has taken a sharp intake of breath and started to think sensibly again, this is a sensible approach – you need to act with a strong, editorial eye and you need to show that as well.
"Tim Davie is there now [as Acting Director General] and he says that he is steering the ship, Newsnight has got a new editor and the whole of the news editorial lines have changed.
"No–one can accuse the BBC of burying the news on this one."
She added: "I think it is just very important that we understand that while the focus is on the BBC and while the BBC is being criticised at the moment, Newsnight is one programme. Ok, it is the flagship news programme, but let’s get this all into proportion – it is one programme that for various reasons appears to have lost its way editorially.
"There are all sorts of reasons for that – it may be that an editor made a mistake, it may be that reporters made a mistake, and those may have been compounded in the hysteria after the Savile scandal, of the BBC trying to get back on top of the story and actually making another mistake."
You can listen to Liisa for the next seven days at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00zzf99.
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