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    The BBC estimates that the audience for its global news output has increased by 7 per cent year on year to 256m.

    This is the combined weekly reach of the BBC World Service, BBC World News and the global-facing website

    The only domestic viewers/listeners included in that total are the 2m who access the World Service in the UK, meaning the total non-UK based audience of the BBC's news output is estimated at 254m.

    The reach of the BBC's internationally-facing websites is said to have increased by 8million to 38m people a week.

    World Service TV audiences for Persian and Arabic are said to have grown to 41.5m viewers, compared to 28.7m last year.

    BBC director of global news Peter Horrocks said: “This is a milestone for the BBC, with more than a quarter of a billion people tuning in to radio, TV and digital services every week. Today’s figures shows there is a growing worldwide audience for impartial, trustworthy journalism. This is an enormous achievement and cements our position as one of Britain’s most successful and influential global brands.

    "The BBC World Service is emerging from a difficult period of funding cuts and the closure of services. Today’s record audience figures come despite this, thanks to the quality of our journalism and the decisions we have made to invest in new offers, such as TV programmes in a number of our languages. The international media market is more competitive than ever and we’ve had to innovate across the whole of our global news services to keep ourselves relevant to our audiences.

    "I am also particularly proud that the BBC’s Persian service has thrived during the last year despite censorship, deliberate jamming of satellites and the continued harassment of BBC journalists and their families.”

    The total World Service audience is said to have grown by 11.8m to 192m a week.

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    A review of BBC current affairs coverage has compared interviews on Radio 4's Today Programme to a one-sided bout with a prize-fighter.

    The report said listening to interviews on the show, which features veteran reporter John Humphrys among its regular presenters, "can be like witnessing what seems to be a big and healthy looking bloke getting into the ring with the fairground prize-fighter".

    It added: "One is perfectly fit and looks as though he could take care of himself, but the other does it for a living; one has been schooled in the Queensbury rules, and the other is a pugilist. The result can be excruciatingly entertaining to witness, and no-one doubts that both sides need properly to be tested, but it is not always a fair display of the merits of each fighter.

    "While no doubt most interviewees are ready, able and willing to try to put across their point of view, it must seem to many that the contest is played on anything but a level playing field. They are required to turn up at the crack of dawn or late at night, in an environment which is at best unfamiliar, to be braced and ready for any approach to the questioning, live on air with no second chances."

    The review, carried out by former ITV boss Stuart Prebble into the breadth of opinion reflected in the BBC's output, also highlighted an episode of Newsnight where presenter Jeremy Paxman clashed with the newly-elected Bradford MP George Galloway.

    It stated: "When George Galloway squared up to Jeremy Paxman after Galloway won the Bradford West by-election, Paxman started raining blows on him from the starting bell, to an extent that I was surprised to find my sympathies going towards the challenger. I even found myself wondering whether, if Galloway was given space, he might say something I agreed with. Eventually Paxman did give him space, and I did."

    A BBC spokeswoman said: "There are a range of different interviewing styles found across the BBC, which all have their merits. In many cases audiences expect and appreciate rigorous lines of questioning and part of the presenter's job is to ask the questions the public want the answers to."

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    The father of a BBC journalist who killed himself after complaining of harassment has said he would like his son’s ‘bully’ to be named.


    Russell Joslin, a reporter at BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire, claimed he had been sexually harassed and bullied by his colleague.


    His father Peter Joslin, a former senior police officer, said yesterday he could not understand why the woman complained about could not be named.


    “I’m the longest serving police officer in this country – I was a police officer for 44 years and I cannot understand as to why that is so,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Victoria Derbyshire. “I assume that there must be reasons within the media that I don’t understand.”


    The interviewer suggested there is a libel issue, but Joslin insisted there should be no problem because “it is the truth”.


    He said: “We have evidence. You spoke about the tapes. There is evidence on there of exactly what happened and plenty of other evidence that would have supported his case against this individual.”


    During the interview Derbyshire read out three voicemail messages sent to 50-year-old Joslin, which he complained about to the corporation. They were left after Joslin spurned his colleague's unwelcome advances.


    The first voicemail read out said: “Thanks for abandoning me. Don’t ever, ever think of me as your f***ing mate again. Do what you have to do at the BBC because you are a loser on £27,000 a year but don’t ever encroach on me or my talent.”


    The second said: “You are flaky, you are poor, you are weak. Don’t ever think of me as an equal again. I don’t want anything to do with you.”


    And the third said: “Don’t ever, ever f***ing presume any friendship.”


    The incidents are said to have taken place between 2005 and 2008. His father said that 11 days before his death, Joslin had been told that the BBC had not received a complaint he had previously made.


    Last October, after seeing a woman complaining about claims of sexual harassment amid the Jimmy Savile scandal, he was said to be "black with rage".


    Joslin, who had suffered from mental health issues, suffocated himself in hospital after walking in front of a bus three days previously.


    According to the BBC, the coroner said there were many factors surrounding Joslin’s suicide – including work dissatisfaction.


    Joslin’s father praised the BBC as a whole but said he was surprised there weren’t practices in place to help prevent the bullying his son had suffered.


    He also called for the BBC staff who did not fully investigate his son’s complaints to be punished.


    "What I would like to see is those people held responsible for the mistakes they made," he said.


    "They're holding positions where perhaps they might not have learnt lessons and I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone else."


    The National Union of Journalists after last week’s inquest criticised the BBC saying that its treatment had been a “significant factor” in his suicide.


    The BBC said in a statement on Friday: "We apologised unreservedly at the time of the Granger Report at the way the BBC handled Russell’s concerns and we apologise again today to Russell’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.


    "We have learnt lessons from this and we have made progress with the recommendations outlined in Lesley Granger’s Report but we recognise that this is an on-going process.


    "The BBC would like to assure Russell’s family that we remain absolutely committed to implementing these improvements."

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    BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has said he is shocked at how many senior staff were given hefty payoffs that breached the corporation's own guidelines.

    He told the Commons Public Accounts Committee it was "a question of shock and dismay for us" when it emerged that staff had been paid more than they were contractually owed in some cases. Patten joined BBC bosses including director-general Tony Hall and human resources director Lucy Adams at the committee.

    The session comes after a National Audit Office (NAO) report showed that huge payments, of hundreds of thousands of pounds in some cases, were made even though executives were not always entitled to the money.

    Asked why he did not know some payoffs had gone beyond what was contractually needed, Patten appeared to suggest former director-general Mark Thompson should be called to give evidence.

    He told the committee: "If you call a previous director general of the BBC I will be as interested as you are why we didn't know."

    Speaking about Thompson's eventual successor George Entwistle, who stood down after a few weeks in the job, Patten said his payoff of £450,000 was necessary to prevent a potentially larger bill if they had got bogged down in legal argument.

    He said: "We would have fetched up paying more than we in fact had to pay him."

    Patten admitted Entwistle was paid for an extra 20 days work for the BBC to help manage the transition to a new director-general but "as it happened he wasn't required to do anything".

    BBC Trust member Anthony Fry said some BBC staff were "out to lunch" in regard to how much they expected senior executives to be paid, and some people had got "unreasonable" salaries and payoffs.

    He was also questioned about a letter from Thompson to the trust where he said the payoff to former deputy director-general Mark Byford, who walked away with almost £1 million, was within contractual arrangements when in fact it was not.

    Asked if the former director-general had lied to him, Fry refused to reply and said there was "some disconnect" between what was in the letter and what was subsequently uncovered by the NAO in its report.

    In the report, the spending watchdog said the payouts had "put public trust at risk".

    In one case the NAO found an executive was paid £300,000 in lieu of notice after their redundancy was agreed - despite serving their notice in full.

    The payment, equivalent to the cost of 2,062 licence fees, was agreed by Thompson, and the unnamed figure's redundancy was paid even though they had found a new job.

    In a three-year period up to last December, the BBC spent £25 million on severance payments for 150 high-ranking staff, according to the NAO report, and since 2005 it has made payments totalling £60 million to 401 senior managers.

    In almost a quarter of the individual cases reviewed by the NAO, the BBC paid out more than the staff were entitled to under their contracts.

    The report also highlighted the case of former BBC2 controller Roly Keating, who was given a £375,000 pay-off but returned the money after learning it had not been properly authorised.

    Concerns about payments have been heightened in recent months following the decision to award Entwistle twice the money he was entitled to after resigning from his job after only 54 days.

    The committee has previously expressed disquiet about a redundancy payment to former chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, who left last year with a £670,000 pay-off - more than twice her £330,000 salary.

    It suggested the money was effectively paid to "compensate" her for missing out on the director-general job.

    After taking over as director-general earlier this year, Hall announced moves to cap payments at £150,000 and improve the process.

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    Newsreader Mishal Husain will become the second woman to join the presenting team on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme.

    Husain will join in the autumn, when current presenter James Naughtie is  due to taken on an expanded role, focusing on the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

    Husain currently presents BBC News at Ten on Sundays and is also the host of Impact, a daily programme on BBC World News. She has also worked as a presenter on Newsnight, Breakfast and Radio 4.

    She joins current presenters John Humphrys, Evan Davis, Sarah Montague, Justin Webb and Naughtie on the morning news programme.

    Husain said: “I have long been an admirer of Today and am delighted to have the opportunity to join the team. The programme has unparalleled influence across BBC News and on our national conversation and I am looking forward to being part of it.”

    Director general Tony Hall said: “It is such great news that Mishal will be joining the Today programme. She is a first rate journalist who will be an excellent addition to what is already a very strong team. I am also particularly pleased that her appointment means there will be another female voice on the programme which I believe is extremely important.”

    Naughtie’s expanded role comes as the BBC has announced a £5 million investment in its referendum coverage. He will host Good Morning Scotland two days a week and will be chief reporter on Scotland across Radio 4’s news output, before returning to Today full-time ahead of the 2015 General Election.

    He said: “I am thrilled at this enhancement of my role on Today. Constitutional debate and decision next year has great historic importance for Scotland and the whole of the UK, so I am excited to be in the thick of it, on both sides of the border, from start to finish.”

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    The BBC Trust has said it is "encouraging" that 49 per cent of UK adults in a survey would turn to BBC News for impartiality over other sources.

    According to the new survey conducted in February this year, 14 per cent of respondents would choose ITV, 6 per cent Sky News and 3 per cent Channel 4. Some 6 per cent said they didn’t know, while 22 per cent chose another source.

    Some 1,873 UK adults over the age of 16 taking part in the survey were asked: "Of all news sources, which ONE source are you most likely to turn to if you want impartial news coverage?"

    Trust chairman Lord Patten said in the Trust’s report that the BBC had “seriously let down borth itself and licence fee payers” last autumn, with the Newsnight crises and the departure of Director General George Entwhistle.

    But he claimed that although the public’s perception of accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality fell during this time, this had recovered by the start of 2013.
    The BBC Trust, meanwhile, was critical of BBC News coverage of events outside of London, and Westminster in particular.
    Radio 4 was picked out specifically, with the trust now calling for the executive to do more to extend the radio channel’s reach across the UK.
    On the BBC as a whole, the Trust said a report by former ITV chief executive officer Stuart Prebble had found that the corporation “goes to great lengths to provide a breadth of opinion”.

    But it added: “Nonetheless, we felt that the range of opnion may be narrowed in some subject areas by too great a focus on a Westminster agenda. We have, therefore, asked the executive to ensure it has effective systems in place to monitor opinion more widely.”

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    Bauer Media, home to some of Britiain’s biggest magazines and radio stations, has acquired the Absolute Radio network for an estimated £25m.

    The German company also operates the Kiss and Magic networks as well as 54 national magazines including Heat and Grazia. Before yesterday’s deal, it already held a 27 per cent share of commercial listenership in the UK.

    Bauer said that the acquisition of Absolute would take the total audience reach for its media assets to more than 23 million consumers a week.

    The deal represents a significant loss for previous owners the Times of India Group, who put the station up for sale in June 2011.

     TIML purchased Virgin Radio for £53m in 2008 and spent a further £15m re-launching the station as Absolute in September 2008

    Paul Keenan, CEO at Bauer Media UK, said, “We are looking forward to working with Absolute Radio and have great respect for what it has achieved”

    “We are excited about welcoming this complementary music radio business with renowned digital assets into Bauer. It’s a marvellous acquisition for the company”.

    In the second quarter of 2012 Absolute Radio announced record listening figures, with an audience of 2.28 million listeners - the largest digital audience of any commercial station.

    In October a third consecutive annual loss since its rebranding, of £4m, was reported by the station. 

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    A BBC documentary on the welfare state presented by John Humphrys breached guidelines on impartiality and accuracy, the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee has ruled.

    The Future State Of Welfare With John Humphrys was broadcast on BBC2.

    Considering proposals to reform the welfare state, it was screened during the passage through Parliament of the coalition Government's controversial Welfare Reform Bill.

    Although the committee ruled that there was no evidence that Humphrys, a presenter on Radio 4's Today programme, was advocating the Government reforms, it did find that the programme breached guidelines on accuracy and impartiality.

    Viewers would have been likely to form the impression "that there was a healthy supply of jobs overall" because the programme did not broadcast statistics on the ratio of jobs to applicants, it said.

    Because of an absence of statistics on the issue, viewers would also be likely to "form the conclusion that the benefits being targeted by the Government were largely responsible for the view held by some that 'the welfare state is in crisis'," it added.

    It said that viewers were unable to reach an informed opinion and that because the subject of welfare is such a controversial issue, "the failure of accuracy had also led to a breach of impartiality" in the programme, which was broadcast in October 2011.

    It said that the programme had included a wide range of voices and that it was fair and open minded.

    Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: "We welcome the BBC Trust's recognition in its ruling that the programme broke rules on accuracy and impartiality in ways that fundamentally misled viewers."

    She added: "This programme, like too many media stories, failed the public by swallowing wholesale the evidence-free myth of a 'dependency culture' in which unemployment and rising benefit spending is the fault of the unemployed.

    "The reality needs to be reported that only 3% of welfare expenditure goes on Jobseekers Allowance, and that aside from the direct effects of the recession, social security expenditure on working age benefits has not increased as a proportion of GDP in recent years."

    TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This was a shocking lapse by the BBC, from whom we rightly expect, and usually get, high standards of impartiality and accuracy."

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    The England and Wales Cricket Board has been accused of abusing its dominant market position after becoming involved in a legal row with a sports magazine over Test match coverage and an internet cricket commentary site.

    Andrew Miller, editor of The Cricketer, was banned for a time from the Test matches at Trent Bridge, Lords and for the first two days of play at Old Trafford after using a Twitter message on the first day of the Trent Bridge Test match to encourage his followers to tune into Test Match Sofa, an internet broadcast of ball-by-ball commentary which was started by a group of cricket enthusiasts in 2009 and bought by the magazine last year.

    That tweet led to the ECB withdrawing his accreditation.

    Test Match Sofa, which operates from a house in London, uses Sky Sports coverage of test matches as the basis for its own minute-by-minute/ball-by-ball coverage of the matches, done as radio broadcasts across the internet.

    The website, which makes no pretence to be at the match on which its enthusiasts commentate, has a commercial subscription with Sky Sports, and says it is acting with Sky's full knowledge.

    When the ECB subsequently agreed to allow the journalist back, it imposed conditions which included a ban on mentioning Test Match Sofa - and then imposed a complete ban on tweeting during play

    Miller's accreditation to attend and report on the last four days of the Trent Bridge Test and  the whole of the second Test, at Lord's, was withdrawn by the ECB after he refused to agree to a ban on any tweeting during play.

    This condition was subsequently withdrawn after two days of the Old Trafford Test match, with the ECB's lawyers explaining that it was the result of a misunderstanding, meaning that a journalist from The Cricketer magazine was able to attend the last three days of the Test match  at Old Trafford and again for the Fourth Test match at Chester-le-Street which started today.

    But the other conditions, prohibiting mentions of Test Match Sofa, are still in place.

    Nick Goldstone, a partner at law firm Davenport Lyons, which is representing The Cricketer, said the ECB appeared to be trying to freeze Test Match Sofa out of the market, although Test Match Sofa was not infringing anyone's rights by basing internet radio coverage on Sky's broadcasts.

    "We consider the ECB's conduct to be unlawful and an abuse of a dominant position in the market place," he said.

    "They have clearly attempted to  impose wholly unreasonable restrictions on The Cricketer."

    Test Match Sofa - its website describes it as "The alternative cricket conversation" - has reportedly upset the team at the BBC's Test Match Special (TMS), which pays for rights to cover the Ashes ball by ball on BBC Radio.

    But Goldstone said the web-based service was aimed at a younger and different demographic, and had tens of thousands of listeners, and presented no threat to Test Match Special, which had an audience of millions.

    Asked about the dispute, an ECB spokesman said: "Our repeated view is simple.

    "More than 750 journalists have signed our terms and conditions to attend cricket played under the ECB auspices this year which The Cricketer also signed.

    "The Cricketer are attending the fourth Investec Ashes Test match at Durham as they did at Trent Bridge and Old Trafford. They chose not to attend the Lord's Test."

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    Journalists at the BBC have dropped threats of more strike action after agreeing to an improved pay offer of £800, or one per cent - whichever is the higher.
    Management has also agreed to a one per cent increase on the level of minimum pay grades.
    This is an increase of a previous pay offer of £600 for all staff. Union members at the BBC remain opposed to compulsory redundancies which so far appear to have been avoided among journalists.
    National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This settlement has been secured in the spirit of talks offered by Tony Hall to address the clear problems that exist with pay for those at the sharp end at the BBC – the committed journalists and programme makers who create the content for the corporation.
    “The union has been one of the many voicing concern at the excessive pay-outs to former executives and the waste caused by such projects as the disastrous Digital Media Initiative, which cost nearly £100m of licence fee-payers’ money.
    “It is a positive sign that the director general has agreed to discuss the yawning gap that exists the treatment of content creators and those at the top of the BBC who have behaved so outrageously in the past. It is time the staff, the creative force behind the success of the BBC, is recognised for its hard work, talent and forbearing after the treatment it has previously received from an out-of-touch management.
    “The NUJ hopes this is the start of a different way of doing business at the BBC and looks forward to continuing a constructive dialogue with the director general."

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    One of the BBC journalists whose Newsnight report revealing sex abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile was spiked yesterday said the corporation has become a "a get-rich scheme" for "an officer class" of top executives.

    Liz MacKean worked with Meirion Jones on Jimmy Savile revelations which blocked by BBC bosses in late 2011 only to come out in an  ITV documentary later in 2012.

    The corporation spent £25 million on severance payments for 150 high-ranking staff in a three-year period up to December, according to a recent National Audit Office report, and since 2005 has made payments totalling £60 million to 401 senior managers.

    Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival, MacKean said: "The whole issue about severance payments gets to the heart of something that has gone badly wrong with the BBC over the last decade and more, which is the creation of an officer class that seems to fly in the face of the principles of public service broadcasting and then we learn some of the appalling details about severance payments, that the corporation has been treated as a get-rich scheme where people at the top reward outgoing people at the top even if they have got new jobs to go to, even if they have been given more than a year's notice about their departure."

    BBC director-general Tony Hall  highlighted the scandal of the corporation's Digital Media Initiative (DMI) which he scrapped shortly after taking the top job, branding the £100 million attempt to create a production system linked to the corporation's vast broadcasting archive as a waste of money.

    He said: "The thing which worries me most about DMI is the fact you went round the place and people said 'we knew all about that' but no-one said and that is the problem of a culture where fingers are pointed, blame is appointed and people don't feel they can own up and say 'This is going wrong'."

    In March this year MacKean took voluntary redundancy from the BBC. Her colleague Jones has moved across to work on Newsnight.

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    The BBC is launching a new international news programme across three media platforms.

    The Outside Source show will be hosted by Ros Atkins and will be available through BBC World Service Radio, BBC World News TV and the website

    Atkins will be able to use the corporation’s legion of international journalists from his base at the BBC’s new state-of-the-art newsroom in London.

    Initially the show will be launched on World Service Radio before being introduced to the screen and the web.

    A BBC spokesperson said the show would actively interact with the audience and ask them to share their knowledge through social media.

    The show’s editor Mark Sandell said:  “Outside Source is an exercise in open journalism. It aims to open up the news process and involve the audience in understanding the news. It will be technologically advanced and ambitious but also transparent and accessible. We want it to be ‘in the moment’ as we and the audience are discovering the news.”

    Atkins himself believes the show’s style is only possible because of the new facilities available at Broadcasting House.

    “While our starting point will be the expertise we have in the building such as our language services and our bureaux teams, we'll also be using social media and story communities to complement what we are discovering and to find out what our audience is making of the news. Outside Source will show we really are the World’s Newsroom.”

    The show will be launched at 11am on 28 October on BBC World Service and then be broadcast daily, Monday to Friday.

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    A former BBC presenter accused of child sex offences has been forced to apologise to a prosecutor and a judge after accusing them of being part of a conspiracy to smear him.

    Ex-BBC Norfolk and former Radio Clyde broadcaster Michael Souter is standing trial after pleading not guilty to a series of historic sex attacks on boys.

    He launched into a tirade against prosecutor Andrew Shaw and judge Mark Lucraft QC at Norwich Crown Court in which he questioned their integrity and suggested the judge had had previous contact with or knowledge of witnesses in the case.

    Souter had previously accused prosecutors of intercepting emails between him and defence counsel and claimed Norfolk Police officers emailed indecent images to his computer in an attempt to manufacture evidence against him.

    Today he told jurors he withdrew any suggestion that the judge and prosecutor had acted improperly.

    His barrister, Andrew Hill, read a statement to the court saying: "Mr Souter makes it clear that he was wrong to say that the learned judge has any prior knowledge of witnesses or any statements or material relating to them.

    "Such comments that were made which imply to the contrary are formally withdrawn."

    Souter then addressed the court himself, saying: "I would just like to say to Mr Shaw that during the course of yesterday matters did get somewhat heated.

    "I called into question his professional integrity.

    "I apologise unreservedly for that and ask his forgiveness."

    The 60-year-old, of Loddon, Norfolk, denies 19 sex offences, including indecent assault, indecency with a child and serious sexual offences, against seven boys aged between 11 and 16.

    The allegations date from between 1979 and 1999.

    Souter, who was also involved in the Scouts and a social services youth mentoring scheme, also denies a further nine counts of making and possessing indecent images of under-18s.

    Prosecutors have described him as a "sexual deviant" who was obsessed with young boys in shorts and uniform.

    Souter claims he is the victim of a conspiracy in which allegations against him were made up.

    The trial continues. 

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    BBC director general Tony Hall has outlined plans to double the size of the BBC News global audience by 2022.

    But he has also revealed proposed to shave an extra £100m off the existing BBC budget by 2017 to pay for new projects.

    Speaking today Hall said: “I’ve spent a good part of my working life in BBC News. I believe in its singular importance. And while I want BBC News to be alive to its critics, I don’t want BBC News to be cowed by them. Instead, the challenge is to take what is, to my mind, an extraordinary and unique organisation – and make it even better.

    “This means earning the respect of our audiences through the intelligence and the courage of our reporting.

    “A generation ago, we set out not simply to tell people what’s going on in the world, but to try and explain it. Today, we must also examine it. As we’re doing with the economy. Or the Scottish referendum.

    “I want to renew our commitment to investigative journalism. I believe that datajournalism gives us new ways to understand the society we live in. And citizen journalism and social media can get us closer to the story of what’s really going on. And, from our local radio stations in England to our news programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to our global news operation, that’s what we are here to do.”

    Talking about plans to expand the audience of BBC News he said: “Our ambition is to double our global audience by 2022 to half a billion. We’re going to do that by improving the quality of World News on television and online.

    “We will deliver more regional output to get closer to our audiences in different parts of the world. And we will use to reach new audiences too.”

    But on the need to cut costs at the BBC he said: “The licence fee is frozen to 2017 and we’re sticking to that.

    “That means we have to save 16 per cent by the end of that period. We’re planning to save more than that – another 4 per cent – to invest in the future, the ideas I’ve talked about this morning. But we’ll have to find more again to do everything I’ve outlined today – up to another £100 million a year by the end of the Charter.

    “I know people won’t find it easy – the organisation has been through some tough times already – but I’m certain we can do it as the prize is what I’ve outlined today. And that must be worth it.

    "That will mean some hard choices. We’ll look at our investment priorities. We’ll examine every penny we’re spending today and redirect resources – money, people – towards our new priorities where we can.”

    Tony Hall's full speech, delivered in the Radio Theatre in London, is available here.

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    The use of mass surveillance programmes by Britain's intelligence agencies is a totally legitimate area for debate, Nick Clegg has said.

    The Deputy Prime Minister said some of the "technical secrets" disclosed by the former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden and published in the Guardian would be of "immense interest" to terrorists.

    But he said it was right that there should be a public debate about the wider issues regarding the use of surveillance technology by agencies such as GCHQ.

    His comments came after the director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, warned that the disclosure of the "reach and limits" of the GCHQ's capabilities was a "gift" to terrorists.

    Parker dismissed suggestions that the agencies were trawling through people's private lives for anything that looked interesting as "utter nonsense".

    Speaking on his weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3, Clegg acknowledged that the disclosures in the Guardian were damaging.

    "I have got no doubt that there were some parts of what was published which will have passed most readers of the Guardian completely by, because they were very technical, that would have been of immense interest to people who want harm," he said.

    But he said the development by the agencies of powerful new communications surveillance techniques raised wider issues of concern.

    "I think there is a totally legitimate debate to be had - and my experience speaking to people in the intelligence agencies is they recognise this - about the use of these new, incredibly powerful technologies," he said.

    "We have regulations that were designed for an age which is quite different now. Both terrorists and states and security agencies now conduct this battle online in a way that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

    "What that means for privacy and proportionality, that is a totally legitimate area of debate. How you hold the secret parts of any state to account is an incredibly important issue.

    "Secrecy is necessary, of course it is. You must absolutely defend the principle of secrecy for the intelligence agencies, without which they can't keep us safe. But you can only really make secrecy legitimate in the eyes of the public if there is proper form of accountability."

    Snowden, who is in Russia, leaked information to the Guardian in May that revealed mass surveillance programmes such as the US National Security Agency (NSA)-run Prism and the GCHQ-operated Tempora.

    Under the £1 billion Tempora operation, Cheltenham-based GCHQ is understood to have secretly accessed fibre-optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data and shared the information with the NSA.

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    Former BBC head of news Helen Boaden offered to resign the week ITV broadcast allegations of child abuse against Jimmy Savile which had been suppressed by Newsnight.

    The news emerged as Boaden spoke at the Radio Academy Festival in Salford.

    Instead of losing her job in the wake of Savile Scandal, in February this year she was moved sideways from the £455,000 head of news job to become head of radio on the same money.

    It emerged in July that the BBC spent £5m investigating the Savile scandal, including £101,000 to cover “legal and related costs” for Boaden.

    In December 2011, Newsnight editor Peter Rippon decided to drop the Savile investigation.

    Instead of exposing Savile as a paedophile, that month the BBC ran a special tribute edition of Jim’ll Fix It. Sex abuse allegations against Savile were instead eventually broadcast by ITV in October 2012 in a documentary which was largely based on the same witnesses who had come forward to the BBC.

    Boaden was still head of news on 2 November last year when Newsnight published a report which led to Lord McAlpine being falsely accused of being a paedophile. She had removed herself from making decisions about Savile-related stories, pending an internal review, and a review in the McAlpine affair found there was confusion in the BBC about whether the story was Savile-related or not.

    The Guardian reports that Boaden said yesterday: “I offered my resignation in the week of the ITV documentary on Savile.

    "Not because I suppressed journalism, but as head of news I felt we had made a bad mistake, we missed a story [and] it was on my watch. The buck stops with me".

    She said she had discussions with her bosses about her future at the BBC.

    “They were encouraging and supportive. They knew I had been a good citizen over many years, and they knew I had a hell of a lot of experience and they probably had their own views about what had happened.”

    The £2m Pollard Review into Newsnight’s decision to spike the Jimmy Savile story found that the decision was “flawed” but taken in “good faith” – and was not the result of inappropriate managerial pressure, a report into the corporation has concluded.

    One of the key failings behind the decision to spike the report was  deputy director of news Stephen Mitchell’s decision to take the story off the BBC’s Managed Risk Programmes List.

    Mitchell resigned from the BBC in December 2012.

    In February 2013, Rippon was moved to a non news role and put in charge off the BBC archive.

    Former Radio Five controller Adrian Van Klaveran, who approved the McAlpine Newsnight report, was made controller of the BBC’s First World War centenary coverage in January 2013.

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    The jury in the trial of a former BBC presenter accused of child sex offences has retired to consider its verdict.

    Ex-BBC Norfolk and former Radio Clyde broadcaster Michael Souter is standing trial after pleading not guilty to a series of historic sex attacks on boys.

    The 60-year-old, of Loddon, Norfolk, denies 19 sex offences, including indecent assault, indecency with a child, and serious sexual offences, against seven boys aged between 11 and 16.

    The allegations date from between 1979 and 1999.

    Souter, who was also involved in the Scouts and a social services youth mentoring scheme, also denies a further nine counts of making and possessing indecent images of under-18s.

    Prosecutors have described him as a "sexual deviant" who was obsessed with young boys in shorts and uniform.

    Souter claims he is the victim of a conspiracy in which allegations against him were made up.

    A Norwich Crown Court spokeswoman confirmed that the jury was sent out at just before 11.20am.

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    The BBC has called for submissions from members of the public on how the corporation should cover the Scottish independence referendum.

    The poll will take place on 18 September 2014 although the campaign launches officially on 30 May.

    The BBC trust has launched its own 12 week long consultation process to agree any additional guidelines before the rival campaigns are officially launched.

    This follows accusations that Newsnight Scotland has shown a pro-independence bias, although this has been vehemently denied.

    A spokesperson said the new guidelines would cover all referendum reporting during the formal campaign.

    “They are intended to offer a framework within which BBC journalists and content producers can deliver impartial and independent reporting, providing audiences with fair coverage and rigorous scrutiny of the policies and campaigns of all relevant parties and campaign groups.

    “The Trust is inviting views from campaigning bodies, political parties and relevant organisations to the referendum debate, as well as members of the public.”

    The trust wants to know whether their guidelines are relevant and appropriate for the referendum plan.

    In particular they want to know if there are any omissions from the proposals.

    More information on the planned referendum coverage can be viewed here.

    The BBC trust said they would consider all the submissions before finalising the guidelines in March 2014. 

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    Fans of the Today show on BBC Radio 4 have a chance to join John Humphrys for breakfast and take part in a production meeting as part of Children in Need.

    The unique opportunity is being auctioned for the popular charity, with the successful bidder expected to set their alarm clock for the crack of dawn.

    Today Editor Jamie Angus said: "This is a prize that involves getting up at 5am to join our team of journalists and presenters as we broadcast the day's news and current affairs to around seven million people, live on BBC Radio 4. You'll also have the pleasure of seeing some of the more disturbing early morning sights in Today's world including John Humphrys' cereal bowl. Despite that, we anticipate a lot of interest and we look forward to welcoming the winner into the team for the day."

    For those who can’t stomach such an early start, it is possible to bid for a behind-the-scenes peek at The Archers or join Clare Balding as she goes for a walk with a celebrity before a pub lunch.
    Those of a nautical bent can record their own version of the shipping forecast.

    The auction will be accessible through the Radio 4 website and is run through eBay until it finishes at 9pm on Sunday November 17.


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    World wide web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee will guest edit an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme over Christmas week.

    In an annual tradition, the show from 26 December to 31 December is edited by a different celebrity or worthy individual every day.

    In the past, Bono, Prof Stephen Hawking and actor Colin Firth, who shot to fame in the film adaptation of Nick Hornby's classic novel Fever Pitch, have influenced the agenda-setting radio show. 

    As well as Berners-Lee, singer PJ Harvey will feature alongside former director general of MI5 Baroness Manningham-Buller and group chief executive of Barclays, Antony Jenkins.

    And for something completely different the final member of the guest editing team is Michael Palin

    Berners-Lee will use his show to ask what listeners want from the internet following 25 years of the world wide web.

    Harvey will showcase new musical talent, while former spy chief Manningham-Buller will reveal the use of pigeons in espionage.

    Palin will discuss criticism of Life of Brian alongside fellow Python John Cleese.

    Jamie Angus, editor of Today, said: "For the past 10 years, BBC Radio 4 Today's Christmas guest editors have brought a surprising and refreshing editorial perspective to some of our biggest running stories, as well as unearthing original treasures that we'd never have found by ourselves."

    Each of the guests will be responsible for half of the output during their programmes.

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