BBC to launch review into 'editorial policies and governance' amid Diana interview scandal

24 May 2021, 13:02 | Updated: 24 May 2021, 14:46

The BBC will launch a review into the effectiveness of its "editorial policies and governance"
The BBC will launch a review into the effectiveness of its "editorial policies and governance". Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The BBC will launch a review into the effectiveness of its "editorial policies and governance" following Lord Dyson's report into the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, its board has said.

It comes after the former master of the rolls' investigation found that journalist Martin Bashir used "deceitful behaviour" to land the bombshell interview and an internal probe by the corporation a year later had covered it up.

In a statement, the BBC said: "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.

"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."

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It added: "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.

"We have confidence that the processes and guidelines in today's BBC are much stronger than they were in 1995, but we know we must also do what we can to prevent such an incident happening again.

"As such, we think it is right that we review the effectiveness of the BBC's editorial policies and governance in detail."

The review will look at the "robustness and independence of whistleblowing processes" while finding "lessons to be learned" for the future.

It will be undertaken by a group of non-executive board directors, led by Sir Nick Serota, senior independent director of the corporation.

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He will be supported by Ian Hargreaves and Sir Robbie Gibb, who are non-executive members of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines and Standards Committee.

Internal and external stakeholders will be contacted and, with the help of independent advisors, the BBC will get 'expert' advice on its approach to editorial practices.

This comes after Lord Dyson's independent investigation into the Panorama interview showed that Martin Bashir used "deceit" to get the interview with the princess through her brother.

Mr Bashir faked bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer to gain access to Diana, which Lord Dyson said was in "serious breach" of the BBC's producer guidelines.

The Duke of Cambridge said his mother was failed "not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions".