Speed, awareness and planning vital, says crisis PRO

Expert view - Andrew Fairburn, director at crisis comms agency Regester Larkin, analyses the BBC response.

'I think the BBC has been flat-footed with its response. It hasn't been quick enough.

'An organisation such as the BBC has huge amounts of risk: edgy presenters, allegations of political bias, bodging a news report. The question is: how does it respond to it?

'Firstly, does it have a list of all its risks with a plan of how to deal with them? If you identify those risks in advance, the responses will be much quicker.

'Secondly, it should be aware of the dangers to its reputation, what with the credit crunch and the whole debate about overpaid presenters and the media's dislike of licence fees.

'Another principle it did not but should have used is prudent over-caution. It should have said sorry earlier. When the presenters said they were sorry, they were just taking the mickey out of it. That makes a sincere story more difficult.

'So now there has to be a demonstration of contrition. For instance, is there a donation that the presenters can make to a charity of Sachs' choosing?

'The key question everyone is asking is "Should they be sacked?" That's down to the presenters. If they joke about it and can't demonstrate contrition, they make their position very difficult.'

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