BBC chief, deputy 'step aside'

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 12 November 2012

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LONDON (AP) — The BBC's  news chief and her deputy have 'stepped aside' while the broadcaster deals with the fallout from a child abuse scandal that forced its director-general to resign, the broadcaster said today. Helen Boaden, the BBC's  director of news and current affairs, and her deputy, Steve Mitchell, have handed over their responsibilities to others for the time being "to address the lack of clarity around the editorial chain of command," the corporation said. "Consideration is now being given to the extent to which individuals should be asked to account further for their actions and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken," the statement said. Fran Unsworth, head of newsgathering, would assume Boaden's duties and Ceri Thomas, editor of BBC radio's influential "Today" news program, will serve as deputy, the BBC said. The move comes after resignation Saturday of the BBC's director-general, George Entwistle, after a BBC news program bungled reports that powerful Britons sexually abused children. The corporation's governing body, the BBC Trust, confirmed on Sunday that Entwistle would get a payoff of 450 000 pounds ($715,000). It says the settlement took into consideration that Entwistle would continue working on BBC business, including two inquiries in the child abuse scandal. John Whittingdale, chairman of the House of Commons committee on culture, media and sport, said was surprised by the settlement and called for an explanation.  

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