The Straits Times
Published on Nov 10, 2012

BBC suspends Newsnight probe over sex abuse row


LONDON (AFP) - The BBC suspended all investigations by its flagship current affairs programme Newsnight after a politician was wrongly named on the Internet as a paedophile.

The public broadcaster on Friday apologised "unreservedly" for having broadcast a Newsnight investigation alleging that a senior Conservative Party figure repeatedly abused a teenage resident of a children's home in the 1970s.

Although the BBC did not identify the politician in last week's report, former Conservative treasurer Alistair McAlpine was widely named on social networking sites as the alleged perpetrator.

But Mr Steve Messham, a former resident of the Bryn Estyn children's home in Wales, said Mr McAlpine was not his abuser and had been a victim of mistaken identity.