Rupert Murdoch gleeful at BBC debacle in Britain



London: Few seem to be enjoying the management meltdown at the venerable BBC more than Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp chief whose rival British newspapers have been caught up in their own lengthy, embarrassing and expensive phone hacking scandal.

The British Broadcasting Corp. Has moved into full-bore damage control, retracting mistaken allegations of child sex abuse that one of its programs made against a politician.

That serious mistake followed the BBC's earlier failure to report on widespread child sex abuse allegations against one of its biggest stars, the late Jimmy Savile.

Two more top BBC news executives stepped aside Monday, following BBC chief George Entwistle's exit this weekend.

"BBC mess gives (Prime Minister David) Cameron golden opportunity properly reorganize great public broadcaster," Murdoch tweeted gleefully Sunday, apparently overlooking the fact that some of his own key former executives are facing criminal charges in the UK.

The media mogul may be enjoying the spotlight on the BBC's shortcomings, but both the British print press and the country's broadcast media are near rock bottom in public esteem and are expected to face increased government restrictions soon on their autonomy.

A judge-led report into the phone hacking scandal, which exploded with the discovery that employees of Murdoch's News of the World tabloid hacked into a kidnapped girl's mobile phone, is due later this month.

The scandal widened when scores of celebrities, sports stars and politicians said they, too, had been hacked. The tabloid folded, Murdoch's media paid out millions in compensation and still faces scores of lawsuits.

Some expect the report by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, based on months of jarring testimony about wrongdoing by Murdoch's reporters and others, will prompt the government to impose statutory regulation on the British print press, which up to now has been overseen by an industry watchdog.

The BBC's problems could make such a harsh step more popular.

PTI