23 October 2012

Should He Stay or Should He Go Now?

Sometimes a news story is so big people use the expression "you'd have to be living under a rock" in order to have not heard about it. In the case of the Jimmy Savile story that has exploded this month; I'm pretty sure that even the woodlouse living under that large pebble in my garden has a basic understanding of the case.

The BBC is holding two inquiries into what happened. Obviously the first is in to how such a sex offender was able to carry out his crimes right under the BBC's noses. The second is into why 11 months ago Newsnight canned an investigation into these crimes.

Peter Rippon, who was responsible for cutting the Newsnight exposé, has stepped aside. Over the last 36 hours I've read several things along the lines of:

Rippon shouldn't fall on his sword. All he did was can a Newsnight investigation after Savile's death. He had nothing to do with the perpetration of the crimes.
.

The thing is: He unwittingly might have done.

When Savile's victims started coming forward the police undertook an assessment of Savile's crimes. They couldn't launch a criminal investigation because they couldn't prosecute someone that'd been dead almost a year.

But almost 3 weeks after the allegation floodgates opened the police turned the assessment into an actual criminal investigation because the allegations implicated Savile's fellow paedophiles that are still alive.

We don't know who the co-accused are. The police aren't releasing that information because it would jeopardise their inquiries. All we know is that they're still alive and so potentially still raping children. If Newsnight had aired the film 11 months ago then these allegations would've come to light nearly a year earlier and his co-accused could've been caught that much sooner, potentially protecting any of their victims this past year.

Rippon's disgusting attitude towards women and belief that paedophilia isn't "the worst kind of sexual offence" are quite evidence enough that he shouldn't be responsible for a news show. Because news does happen to women and children too; you know. But the fact that he could have blown open this news story a year earlier and in the process potentially protected victims of paedophiles proves that there's really no place for someone like him in investigative journalism.

1 comment:

  1. Good post.

    I can't see Rippon coming back. I also wonder how long it will take for the Director General to resign, as he was in the department that decided to screen the Christmas tributes to Savile instead of the Newsnight.

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