• Friday, Jul 01, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:54 pm

Ex-BBC boss says Diana interviewer Bashir ‘abused’ trust

  • Published at 10:57 am June 16th, 2021
Diana
The BBC was under pressure on May 21, 2021 after unprecedented criticism from the royal family about its 1995 interview with princess Diana, damaging its reputation as it fights attacks on several fronts AFP

A report last month found Bashir used fake bank statements to secure the sensational 1995 interview

A former head of the BBC said on Tuesday that disgraced Princess Diana interviewer Martin Bashir “abused” his trust and would never have been re-employed had his unethical methods been known.

A report last month found Bashir used fake bank statements to secure his sensational 1995 interview and that a subsequent BBC investigation clearing him of wrongdoing was “woefully inadequate”.

A separate internal BBC review concluded on Tuesday that Bashir’s appointment as religious affairs correspondent in 2016 was fair and that the theory it was used as a cover-up was “entirely unfounded”.

Tony Hall — who co-led the BBC’s first inquiry into Bashir in 1996 and was its director-general when Bashir was rehired — was grilled about the corporation’s work by UK MPs.

He said the initial internal probe in 1996 saw Bashir reduced to tears during a 90-minute interrogation.

“I gave him (Bashir) a second chance and that trust was abused and misplaced,” Hall told a parliamentary committee.

“He was contrite, inexperienced and out of his depth and that is why, rather than sack him, we gave him a second chance.”

Combination of photos show late Princess Diana and British journalist Martin Bashir | Courtesy: BBC/ReutersBut Hall denied responsibility for re-employing Bashir in 2016, despite his previous behaviour and controversies arising from his work for US networks, claiming he “devolved” this decision-making to colleagues.

“I was running the organisation of 20,000-plus people. I cannot be across every detail,” he said.

“If we knew then what we now know, then of course he would not have been rehired. My whole time has been about integrity and getting the truth,” he said.

Bashir’s 1995 interview — in which Diana said “there were three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles and admitted her own infidelity — rocked the British monarchy and attracted a record audience of 22.8 million viewers.

Diana’s son Prince William claimed Bashir’s deception and the BBC’s oversight contributed to his parents’ failed marriage and exacerbated his mother’s “fear, paranoia and isolation”.

William’s younger brother Prince Harry went further, claiming a “culture of exploitation and unethical practices” ultimately caused her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

The scandal surrounding Bashir comes as the BBC is under sustained pressure from its critics, including over claims of political bias from both left and right.

It is also facing close scrutiny over its public licence fee funding model and competition from online streaming services.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail