A draft of the Dame Janet Smith review of practices at the BBC found that the fear of whistleblowing at the organisation was “even worse” in the current era than at the time Jimmy Savile was abusing children while working for the broadcaster,
The review, leaked to online news site Exaro, identified more than 100 BBC employees who had “heard about Savile’s sexual conduct” and said the former presenter’s abuse of children took place at numerous BBC buildings. Three of Savile’s victims were nine years old, it said.
The report made damning criticism of the BBC’s efforts to reform its policies on whistleblowing, saying: “It is clear … there is still a widespread reluctance to complain about anything or even for it to be known that one has complained to a third party.”
BBC insiders told The Independent that, with an “ingrained culture of patronage” at the top of the organisation, even household names were fearful of speaking out. “Prominent national journalists are genuinely afraid of going to meetings and telling the truth because if you say something wrong it goes against you,” said a BBC newsroom source.