#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
BBC Issues Apology to Parents Involved in Huw Edwards Scandal

Today, on 27 February 2024, the BBC issued a rare apology to the parents of the 17-year-old at the heart of the scandal that led to the stepping down of one of the broadcaster's most high-profile presenters. 

In a statement posted to the BBC Media Centre, the apology came as part of a review focusing on how non-editorial complaints are raised with the BBC and the subsequent processes behind how they are escalated and managed. The admission came alongside the announcement of enhancements which have already been actioned, including "an escalation mechanism for serious non-editorial complaints for any route with oversight by a Specialist Case Management Framework (SCMF)". This was also accompanied by further recommendations and planned improvements the organisation intends to take, including greater cross-team consistency in the complaint's procedure, regardless of how they are received and reviewed.

The independent review, commissioned by the BBC in July 2023, was conducted in the aftermath of the events that led to the suspension of the BBC News journalist Huw Edwards, 62. A complaint lodged against the organisation by the individual's parents was about the matter in which their concerns were acted upon after making them known to the organisation in May 2023. Only when a new allegation was made in July 2023 did the organisation begin its serious case management framework (SCMF) on 7 July and subsequently suspend the presenter on 9 July.

Based upon information reported in a BBC News article published today, the independent report, conducted by professional services and consultancy firm Deloitte, said original concerns of the family were meant "to be escalated to the relevant regional operations security manager but this did not happen". Moreover, the information included in the complaint was not logged properly, nor was the documentation process.

The BBC Group Chief Operating Officer, Leigh Tavaziva, said in a statement published within the BBC Media Centre announcement that she is "very grateful for the diligence and care with which Deloitte have approached this review" and reaffirmed the effectiveness of the BBC's "existing processes and systems". Nevertheless, they recognised the "shortcomings in the presenter case". They said that the "initial complaint in this case was not escalated quickly enough, and we have apologised to the complainant for this".

The story became the centre of nationwide controversy when an article was published in The Sun newspaper alleging an inappropriate relationship between a presenter and a 17-year-old girl.

Speculation arose as to who could be the news reporter in question after the tabloid splashed the headline "Top BBC Star in Sex Pics Probe" across their Saturday 8th July issue, going on to say the teenager had been given "more than £35,000 since they were 17 in return for sordid images", without naming the adult individual involved. Speaking to The Sun, the mother of the unnamed girl also said that their child had used the money to fund a crack habit, adding they "feel sick" when they see the presenter on television. These claims were repeated in both online and paper issues of the story.

After the direct allegations appeared to be made by The Sun, Mr Edwards was taken off the air. At the same time, the BBC complied with an investigation by the Metropolitan Police, owing to the criminality of sending explicit images to individuals under 18. Shortly after announcing their investigation, two police forces, South Wales and the Met, subsequently said they would no longer pursue action against the presenter as there was no information indicating a crime.

The Sun newspaper has maintained its position in the case, stating that "at no point in our original story alleged criminality and also took the decision to neither name Mr Edwards nor the young person involved" the story was in the public interest. The publication also claimed in its defence that other organisations misinterpreted their reporting. In subsequent versions of their reporting, the newspaper moved its wording towards a less accusatory tone, preferring to refer to the allegation as "it is understood contact between the two started when the younger was 17".

Meanwhile, the young individual at the heart of the claims, now over the age of 20, said the allegations made in The Sun were false, with no illegal behaviour occurring.

Mr Edwards was ultimately named by their spouse, Vicky Flind, in a "statement on behalf of [her] husband Huw Edwards". In her statement, Mrs Flind went on to ask for privacy for her family and mentioned how the allegations had adversely affected her husband's mental health.

The journalist, who has not provided a public statement since the scandal broke last year, is said to be still receiving treatment for ongoing and long-term depression exacerbated by the scandal. In Mrs Flind's original statement, she clearly stated, "Once well enough to do so, he intends to respond to the stories that have been published".

Editor: Vidhi

Photo Credit: BBC News


Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in