Former BBC chiefs to face questions from MPs over Diana Interview

Appearance at select committee comes after Dyson report found Bashir used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to secure interview

Celine Wadhera
Thursday 10 June 2021 14:32
<p>Lord Dyson found that Martin Bashir used ‘deceitful behavior’ and broke the BBC guidelines to secure his Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales</p>

Lord Dyson found that Martin Bashir used ‘deceitful behavior’ and broke the BBC guidelines to secure his Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales

Two former BBC director-generals will face questions from MPs about the events that led to Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Dianna.

Lord Tony Hall and Lord John Birt are set to be quizzed on the details of internal investigations into how Mr Bashir’s exclusive was obtained.

In May, an official inquiry led by Lord Dyson found that Mr Bashir had used “deceitful behavior” with the princess and broke BBC guidelines to secure his interview, including through the use of fake bank statements.

The report concluded that the journalist was in “serious breach” of BBC rules, and said that the BBC had failed to uphold “governance, accountability and scrutiny” in its 1996-internal investigation, which was described as “woefully ineffective”.

The probe was led by Lord Hall, who was managing director of news and current affairs at the time, while Lord Birt was director-general of the corporation.

Since the release of the report, Lord Hall has expressed “deep remorse” and apologised for not meeting appropriate standards on the initial probe. “While Lord Dyson does not criticise my integrity, I am sorry that our investigation failed to meet the standards that were required,” he said.

Tim Davie, current BBC director-general, and chairman Richard Sharp will also appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 15 June to provide evidence on the implications of Lord Dyson’s findings.

The BBC has issued an apology to Matt Weissler, the graphic designer who created the fake bank statements for Mr Bashir that were used to coax Diana to agree to the interview. When Mr Weissler tried to expose Bashir’s methods, he was sidelined and blacklisted by the corporation, severely damaging his career.

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