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Press Forward Presses NBC for Independent Investigation

Press Forward says that while it appreciates that NBC made public its internal investigation following the firing of Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct allegations, the company needs to get a second opinion.

The group, which was founded by female journalists seeking a safer and more inclusive newsroom culture, says there was an inherent conflict of interest in NBC reviewing itself.

The investigation, headed by NBC's own general counsel, Kim Harris, concluded that NBC News management did not know of the claims before interviewing his accuser and that neither those executives nor human resources nor others in positions of authority had received any complaints about Lauer's behavior before that from other women who subsequently said he had acted inappropriately towards them as well.

Related: NBC Fires Matt Lauer After Harassment Allegation

There have been subsequent allegations against former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who has denied them.

“The investigation team does not believe that there is a current widespread or systemic pattern of behavior that violates company policy or a current culture of harassment in the news division," the internal report concluded.

Press Forward was not assuaged.

"To truly assess culture and get honest responses from employees, we recommend hiring an independent third party, as is common practice. No one is going to be fully candid when speaking to management for fear of losing their jobs," the group said following publication of NBC's findings. "News organizations, journalists and media all hold corporations, governments, and individuals to higher standards in similar instances, so it’s concerning that NBC would not choose to follow those same standards itself."

"A more effective way to make employees feel better, safer or more confident about coming forward with stories of misconduct is to make sure there is an independent investigation. Employees should work in environments where they feel safe coming forward without fear of retaliation if they have experienced abusive behaviur. The report today undermines that expectation."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.