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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 12:11 GMT
'Dismayed' BBC staff back Dyke
Daily Telegraph advert
The ad was paid for by staff and not the BBC itself
Thousands of BBC staff have paid for an advert in a national newspaper supporting their former director general, Greg Dyke.

Mr Dyke resigned a day after the Hutton report heavily criticised the BBC.

The advert said: "Greg Dyke stood for brave independent and rigorous BBC journalism that was fearless in its search for the truth".

On Friday Andrew Gilligan, the journalist at the centre of the row, also resigned.

Mr Gilligan said a "grave injustice" has been dealt to the BBC, and that Lord Hutton's findings "cast a chill over all journalism".

Inspiration

The advert in the Daily Telegraph, paid for by staff, said: "We are resolute that the BBC should not step back from its determination to investigate the facts in pursuit of the truth.

"Through his passion and integrity Greg inspired us to make programmes of the highest quality and creativity.

"We are dismayed at Greg's departure, but we are determined to maintain his achievements and his vision for an independent organisation that serves the public above all else."
My departure is at my own initiative, but the BBC collectively has been the victim of a grave injustice
Andrew Gilligan

It follows spontaneous protests outside BBC premises throughout the country in support of Mr Dyke.

Both Mr Dyke and Mr Gilligan said they did not accept all of Lord Hutton's report into the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

Mr Gilligan, 35, said: "If Lord Hutton had fairly considered the evidence he heard, he would have concluded that most of my story was right."

The journalist conceded he had made mistakes and apologised for them, but defended the bulk of his story.

He said the BBC's punishment was "far out of proportion to its or my mistakes, which were honest ones".
INQUIRY BACKGROUND
September 2002: Government produces dossier about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, including claim they could be deployed within 45 minutes
May 2003: BBC Today programme's Andrew Gilligan broadcasts report of claims Downing Street "sexed up" dossier, with 45 mins claim included against intelligence agencies' wishes
10 July 2003:Dr David Kelly named as suspected source of report as government continues to deny the story
17 July 2003: Dr Kelly found dead
August 2003: Lord Hutton begins six weeks of hearings about the circumstances around Dr Kelly's death

"This report casts a chill over all journalism, not just the BBC's.

"It seeks to hold reporters, with all the difficulties they face, to a standard that it does not appear to demand of, for instance, government dossiers."

The Daily Telegraph's legal editor Joshua Rozenberg dismissed Mr Gilligan's claim that it was a "grave injustice" to the BBC, saying the only surprise was that Mr Gilligan did not go sooner - "as soon as the Hutton report was published - if not sooner".

"This man has done more damage to this corporation than anyone else in its history."

Tory vice-chairman Boris Johnson, a friend of reporter Andrew Gilligan, said the reporter left because he felt he was not going to be given his job back on the Today programme.

Downing Street said it had "nothing to say" on Mr Gilligan's departure.

Former Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell also declined to comment when told about the news during the opening night of his "one man show" in South Shields.

Earlier Mark Byford, the acting director general, said the corporation recognised that it had made errors.
THE HUTTON REPORT
Full Report
(PDF file 2MB)

He told BBC Two's Newsnight programme: "The BBC says it recognises it has made mistakes and we also recognise that Lord Hutton's report is a matter of some difference of opinion.

"The BBC will debate those opinions, but the BBC will not have a view on the Hutton report itself."

Mr Byford is leading an internal inquiry into what went wrong and the steps needed to ensure it does not happen again.




WATCH AND LISTEN
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