Report into 1995 Diana interview finds BBC ‘deception’
LONDON, May 20, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – The BBC on Thursday made a “full and unconditional apology” after an independent report found that journalist Martin Bashir used “deception” to secure an explosive 1995 interview with princess Diana.
“The indirect and real target of Mr Bashir’s deceptions was Princess Diana,” wrote retired senior judge John Dyson following a six-month investigation.
Dyson said he was “satisfied” that Bashir showed fake bank statements to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer “so as to deceive Earl Spencer and induce him to arrange the meeting with Princess Diana.”
“Mr Bashir acted inappropriately and in serious breach” of the BBC guidelines, Dyson added.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie accepted that “the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect.
“The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew,” he said.
“While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today.”
Dyson also took aim at a 1996 BBC investigation into the claims by future BBC chief Tony Hall and another senior BBC figure, Anne Sloman, that cleared Bashir of wrong-doing.
“The investigation conducted by Lord Hall and Mrs Sloman was flawed and woefully ineffective,” said Dyson.
Hall admitted that the probe “fell well short of what was required” and that he was “wrong to give Martin Bashir the benefit of the doubt”.