BBC to review editorial policies

BBC director general Tim Davie on Tuesday said that an investigation into why the former reporter Martin Bashir was rehired in 2016 will be published next week…reports Asian Lite News

The BBC Board has announced a review of the broadcaster’s editorial and whistle-blowing policies amid mounting pressure following an inquiry into the 1995 interview with the late Princess Diana.

BBC director general Tim Davie on Tuesday said that an investigation into why the former reporter Martin Bashir was rehired in 2016 will be published next week.

Davie said there was “no doubt” that rehiring Bashir years after the interview had been a “big mistake”, adding that Bashir was still working out a three-month paid notice period, according to BBC.

Davie said the notice period started the moment he resigned and was almost up, it was reported.

In a statement on Monday, the BBC said it accepted the inquiry report, which said that it fell short of “high standards of integrity and transparency” over the interview.

The board said in its statement that it hoped to ensure the “mistakes of the past” could not be repeated.

“We accepted Lord Dyson’s findings in full and reiterate the apology we have offered to all those affected by the failings identified,” it said.

“We recognise the impact that the events it describes has had on so many people, not least those whose lives were personally affected by what happened. We also acknowledge that audiences had a right to expect better from the BBC.”

The report published last week by an independent inquiry led by John Dyson, a retired senior judge, found that Martin Bashir had acted in a “deceitful” way and faked documents to obtain the interview.

Flowers, candles and photos are seen in commemoration of the Princess Diana in Paris, France on Aug. 31, 2017. People commemorated the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana here on Thursday. Princess Diana died in a car crash in a Parisian underpass on Aug. 31, 1997, at the age of 36. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen/IANS)

The inquiry found Bashir mocked up fake bank statements that falsely suggested individuals were being paid for keeping the princess under surveillance.

He later showed the fake documents to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, to gain his trust to gain access to Diana and persuade her to agree to give the interview.

The BBC carried out its own investigation into the issue in 1996, but it “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency”, according to the latest inquiry.

Bashir has stepped down from his role as the BBC’s religion editor, the corporation has confirmed.

Former BBC director general Tony Hall announced on May 22 that he has resigned as the National Gallery’s chairman.

Continuing in the role “would be a distraction”, said Hall, who was director of news during the time of the interview, which the boradcaster claims it was the first time a serving British Royal had spoken openly about her life, including her “unhappy marriage” to Prince Charles, their affairs and her bulimia.

The Met Police has said it will assess the contents of the inquiry into the interview to ensure there is no “significant new evidence” to support a criminal investigation.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said the report “reveals damning failings at the heart of the BBC” and he will “consider whether further governance reforms are needed”.

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