This letter was published in the Times on November 13 2012.
We would like to clarify issues raised in your leading article (Nov 12) which mentioned the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in connection with BBC Newsnight.
We, the trustees of the Bureau, are inquiring further into what happened and may comment more fully when our investigations are complete. But we can underline that the BBC did not ‘outsource’ its reputation to the Bureau. The BBC required, and had, full editorial control throughout the production of the Newsnight film transmitted on November 2 about the North Wales child abuse inquiry.
We regret that a tweet by the Bureau’s managing editor in advance of the programme helped to feed inaccurate speculation about the identity of a political figure who was not named by either the Bureau or by the BBC.
The managing editor of the Bureau, Iain Overton, has resigned. We recognise his achievement in establishing the Bureau as a source of excellent and original investigative journalism at a time when the resources available for such reporting are dwindling. The Bureau’s work has won awards by disclosing important information in the public interest and, with only this recent exception, by maintaining high standards of journalism. The Bureau remains absolutely committed to that aim.
James Lee (chair), Sir David Bell, George Brock, David Potter, Elaine Potter
For legal reasons the Bureau will not be publishing comments on this article.
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