I've had a few scuffles with a board member (now gone) and other ones more current about the futility of using old news clips most notably those close to 9/11 on account of that it was a hectic confused period of discovery.
Often times, these old articles where presented as "still alive" stories, since people where coming forward expressing their innocence. The contention of those using those articles was that they had not been any retractions from the news organization. Therefore, it was still valid.
I won't nail it to hard, since the other party is not there to defend himself anymore.
However, the BBC is doing the right thing, and have started going back and precising the language of these articles to prevent such opportunistic Conspiracy theories to spread their poison.
In 1984 they used to go and "correct" history books.
I don't believe the conspiracy stuff, but the BBC "tightening up" news stories 5 years later seems kind of dubious.
What is dubious is the previous way the articles were used.
But your right, such edits need to be made tranparantly and with a clear rationale like they have done.