LONDON -- The British Broadcasting Corporation said on Tuesday that it was beginning disciplinary action against unidentified news personnel linked to a scandal over reporting of child abuse that wrongly implicated a senior Conservative Party politician.
The action comes only weeks after the BBC, Britain's public broadcaster, became embroiled in a separate abuse scandal relating to the longtime television host Jimmy Savile. Together, the two debacles have plunged the organization into a bout of recrimination, public criticism and doubt over its ability to restore its image of probity and reliability.
Both episodes relate to the flagship "Newsnight" current-affairs television program. The scandal has forced the resignation of George Entwistle, the BBC's director general, who acted as both editor in chief and chief executive. Two other senior executives have withdrawn temporarily from their jobs.
Additionally, a decision by the supervisory BBC Trust to award Mr. Entwistle a payoff equivalent to $750,000 -- twice the contractual obligation -- has drawn howls of protests from politicians, newspaper columnists and rank-and-file BBC staff members.
The disciplinary action against the news personnel followed the publication late Monday of a report by Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland, into a "Newsnight" program that falsely implicated Alistair McAlpine, a former Conservative Party treasurer, in sexual abuse at a children's home in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
The report said the editorial management of "Newsnight" had already been weakened by the Savile affair, in which the program canceled an investigation last year into sexual abuse by Mr. Savile. Mr. Savile, who died in October 2011 at age 84, is now accused of decades of sexual abuse involving about 300 young people, some of it on BBC premises.
After that scandal began to unfold in October, Peter Rippon, the "Newsnight" editor, withdrew from his job, meaning the "editorial leadership of the team was under very considerable pressure," the MacQuarrie report said.
"As a consequence there was ambiguity around who was taking the ultimate editorial responsibility" for the second contentious "Newsnight" program on Nov. 2, the report said, "particularly in the days leading up to the day of transmission."
"During the editorial decision-making process, some of the basic journalistic checks were not completed," it said in what has been taken as a damning indictment. Specifically, "identification was not confirmed by photograph" with an accuser, the report said, and "no right of reply was offered to the unnamed individual at the center of the allegation."
Additionally, "there was a different understanding by the key parties about where the responsibility lay for the final editorial signoff for the story on the day."
The BBC said the report "will be used to inform disciplinary proceedings, which will begin immediately." But, it said, "clearly we will not discuss the details of these individual cases."
"Newsnight" prepared its segment on child abuse in conjunction with the privately financed Bureau of Investigative Journalism, whose managing editor, Iain Overton, also resigned on Monday.
The MacQuarrie report was released hours after the BBC said its director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, had "stepped aside."
The BBC management said that while neither Ms. Boaden nor Mr. Mitchell "had anything at all to do with the failed 'Newsnight' investigation" on Nov. 2, it "believes there is a lack of clarity in the lines of command and control in BBC News" because of a separate inquiry into the Savile affair. The BBC said the two executives would step aside until the end of that investigation, which is being conducted by Nick Pollard, a former head of the rival Sky News.
The BBC said its head of news gathering, Fran Unsworth, and Ceri Thomas, the editor of the current-affairs radio program "Today," would fill in for Ms. Boaden and Mr. Mitchell. The BBC also appointed Karen O'Connor, a former deputy editor of "Newsnight" and the investigative "Panorama" program, as acting editor of "Newsnight."
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.