More Heads Roll At BBC, As Its Former Boss Set To Lead NY Times



LONDON - Two more top BBC news executives stepped aside Monday, as the British broadcaster faces a spiraling scandal over two separate bungled reports involving pedophilia.

News chief Helen Boaden and deputy Stephen Mitchell have been put on leave following the uproar over the November 2 airing of a report that wrongly implicated Thatcher-era Conservative politician Alistair McAlpine in a child abuse scandal in Northern Wales, the Independent reported.

This follows Saturday’s resignation of the BBC director general, George Entwistle, less than two months after taking over the top post. The Guardian reported that Entwistle will receive one year’s salary upon departure, even though he was in charge for just 54 days. The office of Prime Minister David Cameron has reportedly characterized the payout as “hard to justify,” but a matter for Entwistle’s conscience.

Last week, Cameron expressed his worries that unproven allegations of child abuse could turn into a “witchhunt,” particularly against those who are gay.

The BBC specified that Boaden and Mitchell were not involved in the editing of the erroneous Newsnight report, though they have been linked to the shelving of an earlier program that had investigated child sex abuse claims against former presenter, the late Jimmy Savile.

Following Savile’s death last year, while programs aired celebrating the longtime BBC personality, the broadcaster axed a Newsnight investigation into claims that the comedian had abused hundreds of teens and children. Soon after, rival ITV broadcaster aired its own investigation into Savile's alleged crimes.

(photo - Kristen M)

The BBC's chairman Chris Patten has called for a radical overhaul of the venerable British Broadcast Corporation, and a new director general is expected to be appointed in the coming weeks.

The scandal risks touching another top news organization, as Entwistle’s predecessor, Mark Thompson is set to take over as CEO of The New York Times Company on Monday.

Thompson, who ran the BBC for eight years, had taken over during the broadcaster's last crisis, a report alleging government impropriety during the buildup to the war in Iraq.

Thompson says he was not told about the gravity or extremity of the claims; however, Entwistle’s exit and acceptance of responsibility for editorial decisions as director general raise the question of Thompson's own responsibility.

Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger has dismissed calls to forego Thompson as CEO in order not to drag the US company into the scandal.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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