BBC board responds to Diana Panorama controversy with editorial review

The BBC board has announced it will ‘review’ the BBC’s editorial policies and governance in detail after Lord Dyson’s report into Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Diana found he acted ‘with deceit’.

It said in a statement that it acknowledged the failings set out in the 127-page report, which found the corporation covered up ‘deceitful behaviour’ used by the journalist to secure the 1995 world exclusive.

‘As members of the BBC board we were, like so many others, concerned by the findings in Lord Dyson’s report into the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales,’ it said in a statement.

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

‘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.

‘As a board we believe that the BBC is a different organisation today, with different and stronger governance, as well as improved processes. Nevertheless, Lord Dyson’s report speaks to historic failings of oversight and these should be reflected upon. We must not just assume that mistakes of the past cannot be repeated today – we must make sure that this is the case.’

The BBC board went on to say it will seek to ensure there are ‘strong day to day editorial processes’ and a ‘clear route by which to handle any specific issues arising from Lord Dyson’s report’.

‘The BBC will, of course, also participate fully in the next formal review of BBC governance, as set out in our royal charter,’ it added.

‘This has been a profoundly sobering period for us all. The board of the BBC has absolute faith that the mission and purposes of the BBC endure. We must strive to reinforce confidence in our world-class journalism and prove that we deserve the trust of all our audiences.’

On Sunday, Bashir has said he ‘never wanted to harm’ Princess Diana with his Panorama interview, adding: ‘I don’t believe we did.’

He also maintained Diana was never unhappy about the content of the interview and said they continued to be friends after the broadcast, with the princess even visiting his wife Deborah at St George’s hospital in Tooting, south London, on the day she gave birth to the couple’s third child, Eliza.

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