BBC publishes Pollard inquiry transcripts

The British public broadcaster has published transcripts and appendices to the Pollard Report, with approximately 3% redacted for "a very limited number of legal reasons."
February 22, 2013

British public broadcaster the BBC has published the transcripts and appendices to the Pollard Report, save for approximately 3%, which has been redacted for “a very limited number of legal reasons.”

Among the transcripts included within the thousands of pages being published are those┬átaken from conversations with George Entwistle, who served as director-general for the BBC for a total of 54 days before his resignation in November; previous director-general Mark Thompson; ‘Newsnight’ editor Peter Rippon; BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten; then-BBC News director Helen Boaden; and ‘Newsnight’ host Jeremy Paxman.

The Pollard Report is based on an inquiry conducted by former Sky News head Nick Pollard, examining the BBC’s handling of material from investigations of child abuse allegations against late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile. Media in the UK has highlighted several quotes from the transcripts of Entwistle, Lord Patten and Paxman, with comments from the ‘Newsnight’ host being particularly critical of the decision to drop the Savile investigation from ‘Newsnight,’ as well as BBC budget cuts that, according to Paxman, have made resources for the program “extremely stretched.”

The Independent reports that the redactions amount to about 90 pages out of the 1,000 pages of transcripts and 2,000 pages of appendices, with a sizable portion of Paxman’s transcript blacked out. According to the BBC, the redactions were made out of consideration for the following: “defamation [of individuals, not the corporation]; data privacy; protection of confidential sources; anonymity of victims of sexual assault; potential prejudice to or interference with police investigations or on-going criminal proceedings; legal professional privilege and confidentiality (where a genuine and identifiable interest of the BBC is at stake).”

“The BBC has been open and transparent in its handling of this unhappy chapter in our history,” said acting director-general Tim Davie in a statement. “It has not been an entirely comfortable process for us to go through but it is right that we did it this way. It is important that the BBC now moves forward with the lessons learned and continues to regain the public’s trust.”

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