Martin Bashir was not rehired by the BBC in 2016 to cover the circumstances surrounding his infamous interview with Princess Diana, a new report revealed on Monday.
The BBC investigation was commissioned after an earlier report revealed that the journalist had acted deceptively to secure the TV interview, the outlet said.
The investigation concluded that no one when the 58-year-old was rehired in 2016 was aware of the issues involved in Panorama’s controversial interview. The outlet said if they had known he “would never have been renamed”.
Ken MacQuarrie, former BBC Director of Nations and Regions, was invited by BBC Managing Director Tim Davie to review the recruitment process that took place, which led to Bashir becoming the Religious Affairs Correspondent BBC News in September 2016, Deadline.com reported. .
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According to the outlet, Bashir’s rehiring has been called “scandalous” in light of Lord Dyson’s investigation into Diana’s interview last month. His findings concluded that Bashir used fake bank statements to secure a date with the Princess of Wales for Panorama in 1995.
MacQuarrie’s report found that Bashir was recruited because “his knowledge and experience was considered best suited to the job requirements at the time,” adding that “none of the people involved in recruiting Martin Bashir were was aware of all of the issues in the Dyson report. “
“I have not found any evidence that Martin Bashir was rehired to contain and / or cover the events surrounding the Panorama program of 1995,” MacQuarrie said. “In my opinion, this theory is completely unfounded.”
However, MacQuarrie said there were “gaps” in the recruiting process, noting that Bashir was quickly granted an interview after a coffee meeting with former BBC News director James Harding and Jonathan Munro, head of news. BBC news gathering. While this could have been an “unfair advantage”, Bashir “was never guaranteed for the role, nor considered unassailable by those involved in the hiring process.”
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In March, it was revealed that Bashir had used “deceptive behavior” to secure his controversial interview with Diana.
The 127-page report concluded the reporter “cheated and misled” the late royal’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, into getting the Panorama interview, The Telegraph reported.
According to the outlet, Davie said the company accepts “in full” the findings of former High Court judge Lord Dyson.
“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was enthusiastic about an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the proceeds for securing the interview were well below what the public is entitled to to wait, ”Davie said. “We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified obvious flaws.”
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“While the BBC today has significantly better processes and procedures, the ones that existed at the time should have prevented the interview from being secured in this way,” he continued. “The BBC should have made more effort to get to the bottom of what happened then and be more transparent about what it knew. Although the BBC cannot go back after a quarter of century we can do a full and unconditional apology. The BBC is proposing this today. “
In response to Lord Dyson’s report, Bashir issued his own statement.
“This is the second time that I have fully and willingly cooperated in an investigation into events of more than 25 years ago,” he said, quoted by the media outlet. “I apologized then, and I still do now, for the fact that I asked for fake bank statements. It was a stupid thing to do and it was an action I deeply regret. absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and even more recently. “
“I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing on Princess Diana’s personal choice to participate in the interview,” Bashir explained. “The evidence brought to the inquiry with his own hand (and released with the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to Lord Dyson supports it. In fact, despite his other findings, Lord Dyson he himself accepts in any event that the princess would have probably agreed to be interviewed without what he describes as my “intervention”.
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“It is sad that this one issue was allowed to overshadow the princess’ courageous decision to tell her story, to speak courageously about the hardships she faced and to help fight the silence and stigma that surrounded the issues. mental health issue all those years ago. She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that is why I will always be immensely proud of this interview. “
According to the outlet, Lord Dyson was commissioned six months ago by Davie to investigate the circumstances surrounding the telltale bombshell. It has been alleged that Bashir violated the BBC’s editorial guidelines by creating two fake bank statements which he showed to Earl Spencer. The 57-year-old then introduced Bashir to Diana. The interview took place two months later after the meeting.
In November 2020, Earl Spencer told People magazine that the documents influenced his decision to contact Diana about the interview, as they alleged that a member of his staff was being paid by tabloids to leak family information. of the princess.
“That’s what led me to talk to Diana about such things,” he told the outlet. “This, in turn, led to the meeting where I introduced Diana to Bashir on September 19, 1995. This then led to the interview.”
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In October 2020, The Sunday Times alleged that Bashir manipulated Diana into saying while showing those faulty bank statements to her brother. After facing pressure from Diana’s family over the report, Davie ordered an independent investigation to investigate Bashir’s tactics.
Earlier this year, Bashir was the subject of a criminal investigation. However, the Metropolitan Police decided in March that “no further action would be taken against the journalist.”
Bashir has resigned his post as religion editor for the BBC. The departure was confirmed in an email Munro sent to staff.
In the infamous interview, the Princess of Wales said “there were three of us in this marriage”, referring to Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, whom he married after Diana’s death. Diana, who divorced Charles in 1996, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi. She was 36 years old.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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