Carrie Gracie has said that she is “desperately anxious” for the future of the BBC and has questioned whether it is able to report fairly on the issue of gender pay disparity.
Gracie, who resigned from her post as China editor in a row over unequal pay, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that the BBC must be prepared to look “honestly” at itself when reporting on other cases of gender pay across the UK.
She said that the BBC must “report the truth” in this matter in order to lead the way for other businesses dealing with similar issues.
Gracie said: “We, the BBC, will be reporting on it, obviously. But we’re supposed to be an example – and we are in the position because we are first up, in a way, with this huge row – and how we handle it is important.
“Not just in W1A, it’s important to, I think, workplaces, employers, employees, women, men across the country.”
She added: “We’re not in the business of producing toothpaste or tyres at the BBC. Our business is truth. We can’t operate without the truth.
“If we’re not prepared to look at ourselves honestly, how can we be trusted to look at anything else in reporting honestly?
“It can’t be a starting place to not deal with the facts.”
Referring to a recent story about men at the BBC who had opted to take a pay cut amid the controversy around pay at the corporation, Gracie said: “Various other issues, the very strange day last Friday, where they announced voluntary pay cuts and had to change the stories several times.
“It’s not worthy, any of this of the BBC, to me, what it says is we’re not secure in our foundations of what we’re saying and therefore because our foundations are not securely in truth, accountability, transparency and our real values, we’re not living our values in the press office or corporate central, they’re not living the same values as the rest of us.
“It makes me angry, it makes me disappointed, and desperately anxious for the future of the BBC.
“If we’re not truth tellers, who are we? We’re no better than the next news source.
“The BBC lives or dies by its reputation for telling the truth without fear or favour, that is what we go out and do every day and that is what our bosses should do.”
Giving her evidence at the committee on Wednesday, Gracie said she had received the results of her grievance last week and that the BBC had said it had inadvertently underpaid her since 2014.