BBC marks unhappy 90th birthday amid series of scandals
LONDON (AFP) - The BBC marked the 90th anniversary of its first ever transmission on Wednesday, beset by doubts about its future after a series of scandals surrounding the way it has reported child sex abuse allegations.
A composition by Damon Albarn, frontman of the pop group Blur, was to be played simultaneously on all the BBC's domestic radio stations and parts of the World Service to celebrate the milestone.
What was then known as the British Broadcasting Company crackled into life on Nov 14, 1922, with a radio news bulletin featuring stories about a train robbery, a "rowdy meeting" involving Winston Churchill and billiards scores. But 90 years later the BBC - now the world's largest broadcasting organisation - faces one of the most serious crises in its history as it seeks to defend its reputation and the public funding that sustains it.
The BBC was first hit by scandal last month over a decision by its flagship current affairs programme, Newsnight, to shelve an investigation into claims of paedophilia surrounding its late television star Jimmy Savile. Savile died in 2011 and police now believe he abused hundreds of children.