By Mark Watts
BBC1’s Panorama is planning to attack survivors of child sex abuse and others who are uncovering evidence of a ‘Westminster paedophile network’.
Many journalists at the broadcaster fear that the programme will prompt a backlash because two established cases of VIP paedophiles were among the BBC’s biggest stars – Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall.
They point to how the broadcaster badly let down abuse survivors previously, including one who featured in a Panorama on the pulling of an expose of Savile by BBC2’s Newsnight and another at the centre of the latter programme’s implicit and mistaken identification of Lord McAlpine, former Conservative treasurer, as a paedophile.
Panorama plans to smear abuse survivors, criticise Exaro and other media over their reports on VIP paedophiles, and undermine MPs who campaigned on the issue.
Simon Danczuk, one of a cross-party group of seven MPs that called successfully for an overarching inquiry into child sex abuse (CSA), has been interviewed for the programme.
He co-authored a book that exposed Sir Cyril Smith, who on three occasions escaped prosecution for sexually abusing boys.
John Mann, another MP who has campaigned on the issue, tweeted his concern: “Panorama acting very oddly on child abuse. Twice in 3 months asked for interview and then vanished. Looking like a hatchet job on survivors.”
Exaro can reveal that Panorama’s repeatedly-delayed programme will allege that:
- a CSA survivor claimed that the late Lord Brittan, former home secretary, sexually assaulted him only after he was told by a campaigner to identify the senior politician;
- the Sunday Express ran a false story on its front page that a female ex-MP sexually abused an under-age boy;
- campaigners exaggerated the evidence of the sexual abuse of boys in care by prominent men at the notorious Elm Guest House in south-west London.
The hour-long programme is also planning to repeat smears already published in newspapers about CSA survivors who have given accounts to police for criminal investigations.