Director general insists BBC is independent

The BBC's acting director general Mark Byford has insisted the independence of the corporation is not under threat in the wake of the Hutton Report.

Mr Byford told Radio 4's Today Programme that the BBC's acceptance of its errors had only made it stronger. He said the BBC "recognised Lord Hutton had published his findings" and that these were being studied, but declined to say these had been accepted in full. The BBC had to be wary of labelling stories as "exclusive", he added.

"The independence of the BBC is critical at home and abroad...There is no political pressure on it, no commercial pressure on it such that it falls to it. It's had pressure for the last 70 or 80 years on it but the key for the BBC is to be robust and stand up to it," Mr Byford said.

Former BBC director general Greg Dyke has signed a six-figure book deal to reveal all about his side of the Hutton affair.

Mr Byford defended BBC acting chairman Lord Ryder's decision to "apologise unreservedly" following criticisms levelled at it by Lord Hutton.

"Apologising unequivocally means we say we made some mistakes and for those mistakes we are sorry and more importantly we are going to learn from them," Mr Byford said.

Mr Byford said a full apology had been required because there was some debate as to whether former director general Greg Dyke had given a full apology.

"I want a BBC that's absolutely firm in knowing it is independent of any commercial or political pressure...because that's what the people who own the BBC, the licence payers expect and demand," Mr Byford concluded.