Sunday, February 1
Civil War Breaks Out at BBC as Hutton Backlash Grows
by Francis Elliott and Michael Williams, The Independent, February 1, 2004
The BBC was at war with itself yesterday, as rival factions began to attack each other over competing versions of the events that triggered the worst crisis in the corporation's long history.
Some of its senior managers turned on the journalist Andrew Gilligan, whose flawed reporting began the crisis, claiming that if he had not resigned last week, he would have been disciplined and possibly sacked.
Friends of Greg Dyke, the former director general, also weighed in, saying that he believed Mr Gilligan was guilty of "rubbishy journalism". Mr Dyke has also accused Downing Street of "systematic bullying" of the BBC over its coverage of the Iraq war.
Others within a divided BBC want its acting director general, Mark Byford, to continue the battle with the Government. A leaked document questions the accuracy of testimony given by Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former director of communications, to a Commons committee, and suggests that Lord Hutton's report, published last week, was "wrong in law".
Mr Dyke was forced out of the BBC after a secret understanding with Gavyn Davies unraveled at the last minute, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
The corporation's director general tendered his resignation to the governors on Thursday, confident that it would be rejected.
Instead, to his surprise, it was accepted.