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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Key points: Thompson speech
BBC director general Mark Thompson has announced that all BBC phone and interactive competitions are to be suspended following an series of editorial breaches. Here are extracts from the speech he gave to BBC staff:


"Trust is the foundation of the BBC - we are independent, impartial and honest. This is the most important value we have.

"But over the past few months and especially over the past few days, a number of incidents have happened or come to light which have called this value of trust into question. It's been a disturbing, even a shocking experience for all of us.

"Fundamental public trust in the BBC is very high and rightly so. But recent events show that we can't take that trust for granted."


"In all cases, the incidents seem to have arisen from a misguided attempt to rescue or improve a programme.

"The incidents represent a tiny fraction of the many tens of thousands of programmes we have transmitted over the past years.

"But you have every right to be angry - as I am angry - that these and the earlier serious lapses have cast a shadow over the wider integrity of the BBC and the people who work for it.

We are not going to have a witch-hunt

"I joined the BBC in 1979 and spent years working in production. I have never been involved in a deception of the public. It would just never have occurred to me.

"I can't guarantee that we will not discover further examples. What I am certain about is that from now on we can have no tolerance, no level of acceptance of this kind of behaviour ever again.

"The (BBC) Trust have made it abundantly clear to me that they regard any deception or breach of faith with our audiences as being utterly unacceptable.

"We are not going to have a witch-hunt. Nonetheless, we need to understand why it has taken so long for some of these editorial failures to come to light."


"They (the production company RDF) have offered us and the Queen an unreserved apology. Nonetheless, there are serious questions for us to ask about our role in this deeply regrettable incident.

Compliance with our values and our editorial standards is not voluntary or a nice-to-have. It is essential

"We need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and how we came to publicise something which wasn't true - and we need to know what lessons we should learn from it.


"We must never, ever knowingly deceive the public. There is no excuse for deception. If you have a choice between deception and a programme going off air, let the programme go.

"We will regard deception as a very grave breach of discipline. It will normally lead to dismissal.

"Accuracy, fair mindedness, fair dealing with contributors and with the public all matter much more than production value.

"Compliance with our values and our editorial standards is not voluntary or a nice-to-have. It is essential."


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