Television

Mark Thompson new BBC director general

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MUMBAI: Veteran television executive Mark Thompson is the new director general of BBC. Thompson, the chief executive of the private Channel 4 television, will replace Greg Dyke, who resigned following the scandal over BBC's reporting on Britain's pre-war intelligence about Iraq.

Lord Hutton, the senior appeals judge who led the investigation had harshly criticised the BBC for a May 2003 report that had quoted an anonymous source as saying the government had 'sexed up' evidence on Iraqi weapons to justify war.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Thompson, who had been with the BBC for 23 years, holding many positions in news and current affairs including director of its television division. After quitting the BBC, Thompson, 46, had joined Channel 4 as chief executive more than two years ago.

To a question on boosting the staff morale at the BBC in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, Thompson is quoted as saying the staff could be very confident about the BBC's future, although there were lessons to be learned from recent months.

"I worked for the BBC for 23 years and saw any number of crises and changes, journalistic and otherwise," he said.

Welcoming Thompson's appointment, the government's culture secretary Tessa Jowell is quoted in the media reports as saying, "Mark Thompson is one of our most distinguished public service broadcasters. His experience, skills and enthusiasm will give renewed confidence and direction to the BBC, who now have an outstanding team with Michael Grade as chairman."

Speaking on behalf of the BBC's board of directors, Grade is quoted as saying Thompson was the right person to lead the BBC at this important period in its history.

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