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Archbishop backs Hutton Report censure of BBC

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham has supported the findings of the Hutton Report highlighting the "defective" nature of editorial practices at the BBC in the light of errors in a news story that the Blair Government exaggerated evidence to boost the case for going to war with Iraq.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales believes that it was also a victim of poor editorial practices at the BBC last year following what it regarded as unfair coverage of alleged cases of clergy sex abuse.

Following the release of the Hutton Report, and the resignations of the Chairman of the BBC Governors and of the Director General, Archbishop Nichols (pictured) noted that he has been engaged in "ongoing and positive" dialogue with the BBC.

He said the resignations demonstrate "how seriously the BBC is responding to the criticisms contained in Lord Hutton's Report".

"I share the view that a positive way forward for the BBC is now being shaped," he said. "My particular hope is that, in the future, BBC News and Current Affairs will consistently offer the Catholic Church fair and honest treatment."

However reports yesterday indicate the resignations took place because there was no choice, and that the errors that led to the Hutton Inquiry were isolated rather than systematic.

Archbishop Nichols added: "I look forward to continuing my dialogue with BBC News and Current Affairs in the context of their growing respect for the deeply held religious convictions of all the different faiths in this country."

The BBC and the Catholic Church: statement from Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Independent Catholic News)

Dyke 'forced out' by BBC governors (BBC 1/2/04)
Key points: The Hutton report (BBC 28/1/04)
Hutton Report (text)
Archbishop complains about BBC reporters' behaviour (CathNews 30/9/03)

2 Feb 2004