The BBC after coming under fire for the 1995 “Panorama” interview of Princess Diana, commissioned an investigation into the events that led to the rehiring of Martin Bashir in 2016, the journalist who took Diana’s interview “deceitfully”.
The investigation committee will be headed by Ken Macquarrie who was the former director of nations and regions at the BBC.
A BBC spokesperson spoke to Variety and said that the firm will be able to get the report of the investigation by next week but they are certain that there was an interview conducted for a position and Martin Bashir also sat for it.
Martin Bashir had left BBC in 1999, four years after he interviewed Princess Diana in 1995 which opened curtains to the personal life of the royal family, particularly the dysfunctional marriage between Diana and Prince Charles.
There was an inquiry against Bashir in 1996 at the BBC to determine the nature of the interview process and he was declared innocent. The recent report by Lord Dyson of the UK revealed the real events of the interview and declared that Bashir had in fact acted unethically in obtaining the interview.
Tim Davie, director general of BBC spoke of the new investigation on Tuesday on BBC’s Radio 4 and said, “We’re interviewing people, getting the documents and we should be able to publish something next week.”
After Martin Bashir’s first stint got over at BBC in 1999, he joined broadcaster ITV the same year. The BBC had also written to ITV about Bashir’s conduct in 2000. Despite giving negative feedback, BBC rehired Bashir in 2016. He worked as a religion editor till May 14, 2021, when he resigned citing health issues. It was days before Lord Dyson’s report got published.
Tim Davie in his statement on the radio said that the BBC had already planned on commissioning an investigation on Bashir rehiring but the firm was waiting for the Dyson report to be published. Davie assured that the report of the investigation will be made public.
After Martin Bashir’s first stint got over at BBC in 1999, he joined broadcaster ITV the same year. The BBC had also written to ITV about Bashir’s conduct in 2000. Despite giving negative feedback, BBC rehired Bashir in 2016.
Davie also talked about a whistleblowing system in a journalistic organisation. He said, “You have to have a system in a journalistic organization like ours which is built on trust.”
“We’ve got thousands of journalists out there now doing outstanding work,” Davie added. “We never want this to happen again, in that you have to have a way in which people can raise concerns independently,” he added.