BBC editor steps aside over cover-up scandal

LONDON Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:23am EDT

The microphone that newsreader Iain Purdon used to deliver the final BBC World Service news bulletin from BBC Bush House is seen in central London July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The microphone that newsreader Iain Purdon used to deliver the final BBC World Service news bulletin from BBC Bush House is seen in central London July 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - The editor of the BBC's flagship TV news show stepped aside on Monday after the publicly funded broadcaster said his explanation for pulling an expose into alleged sexual abuse by one of its former presenters was "inaccurate or incomplete".

The BBC is facing a growing crisis over claims that its bosses covered up allegations against Jimmy Savile, one of its top presenters during the 1970s and 1980s who died last year.

Peter Rippon, editor of "Newsnight", had said he had shelved a documentary into the Savile claims shortly after his death for editorial reasons and that the investigation had only focused on institutional failings by police and prosecutors.

But that explanation has been publicly disputed by the show's journalists.

"The explanation by the editor in his blog of his decision to drop the program's investigation is inaccurate or incomplete in some respects," the BBC said in a statement, confirming Rippon was stepping aside from his role.

(Reporting by Michael Holden Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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