Criticised: the BBC men and the scientist

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Andrew Gilligan

EVIDENCE: Andrew Gilligan accepted there would be criticism of his 6.07am broadcast on 29 May 2003 in which he said the 45-minute claim was inserted by the Government despite knowing it was single sourced and probably wrong.

However he argued that there was legitimate public interest in reporting doubts over the intelligence in the September dossier.

He said: "Freedom of expression is a fundamental right ... the media play a vital role in a democracy as the eyes and ears of the public. The law protects freedom of expression not just as a lofty principle, not just a matter of theory, but as a matter of practical reality."

He later clarified mistakes in the first report during the programme. He insisted that he was merely reporting the concerns of his source - not stating his personal belief or that of the BBC.

In a late submission to Lord Hutton, he said that reporters should be given "a margin for error" when dealing with matters of clear public interest, particularly on political issues.

VERDICT: His main allegations were unfounded. It was not possible to reach a "definite conclusion" as to what Dr Kelly said to him because of the existence of two versions of his notes and "uncertainties arising from his evidence". Satisfied that Dr Kelly did not say the 45-minute claim was not believed by intelligence agencies.

The dossier was not "sexed up". Lord Hutton said: "In the context of the broadcasts in which the "sexing-up" allegation was reported, and having regard to the other allegations reported in those broadcast,s I consider that the allegation was unfounded as it would have been understood by those who heard the broadcasts to mean that the dossier had been embellished with intelligence known or believed to be false or unreliable, which was not the case." On freedom of speech, he said: "The right to communicate such information is subject to the qualification (which itself exists for the benefit of a democratic society) that false accusations of fact impugning the integrity of others, including politicians, should not be made by the media."

FUTURE: His journalistic reputation is severely damaged by the report. He made no comment on the inquiry's findings yesterday. He is making radio documentaries for the BBC but has not appeared on Today since the disputed report and is banned from writing a book about the affair while still employed by the corporation. He will be considering his future options very carefully.

Breg Dyke

EVIDENCE: The director general admitted to the Hutton inquiry that a "forensic examination ... of the events of May, June and July has revealed, I think, areas where in hindsight we would have, we might have, behaved differently".

Indicating his main areas of concern with his own editorial systems, he said the first broadcasts of controversial items would, in future, be fully scripted and the use of unscripted "two-way" interviews between presenters and reporters was being reviewed. Guidelines on the use of anonymous sources, and how they were described, were also being reconsidered. He also conceded he should have stepped back from the row between the BBC and Alastair Campbell and referred the dispute to the BBC's complaints department.

VERDICT: Lord Hutton found that the BBC's editorial system was "defective", as evidenced by the failure of BBC managers to check the details of Andrew Gilligan's controversial report on the Iraq dossier. He said that, if they had done so, they would have found that Mr Gilligan's notes did not back up his most serious allegations. The law lord also found that BBC management should have made sure the corporation had proper procedures in place to ensure its reports were fit for broadcast.

FUTURE: Greg Dyke was defiant last night, insisting the BBC had never accused the Government of lying and repeating that Dr Kelly was a credible source. But Mr Dyke is ultimately responsible for all parts of its output and the Hutton inquiry amounts to a damning critique of the highest echelons of the corporation's management. His survival is in the balance.

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