Former BBC chief executive Lord Tony Hall told MPs he “trusted” Martin Bashir and “gave him a second chance” – but that trust was “abused and misplaced” and the journalist “took us all in hand”.
Lord Tony Hall testified before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee (DCMS) about the events leading up to BashirPanorama’s now infamous interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1995, as well as the broadcaster’s handling of investigations into how it got the world exclusive scoop.
Another former BBC chief executive, Lord John Birt, also appears before the committee – and described Bashir as a “serial liar on an industrial scale”, as well as a “very clever trusted con artist”.
This follows the release of the Dyson report in May, which criticized the methods used to secure the explosive interview – including showing fake bank statements suggesting the princess was being spied on by her brother, Earl Spencer. The Dyson report also criticized the BBC’s internal investigation into the matter, conducted in 1996, as “woefully ineffective”.
Bashir returned to the BBC as a religious correspondent in 2016, some two decades after the Panorama episode which made him a household name in journalism and 17 years after leaving for ITV – despite allegations about his conduct having emerged shortly. long after Diana’s interview. He was promoted to religious editor in 2018, but stopped citing health concerns before the release of the Dyson report.
DCMS committee chairman Julian Knight said it was “quite extraordinary” that the BBC rehire Bashir – “a known liar” – as a religious affairs correspondent in 2016.
Lord Hall was the BBC’s chief executive from April 2013 to August 2020 and led the 1996 internal investigation into Bashir.
Asked during the …
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This notice was published: 2021-06-15 08:48:00