BBC at risk of becoming toothless in the wake of Diana scandal, John Sweeney fears

22 May 2021, 12:09

By Seán Hickey

Journalists at the BBC could be 'muzzled' in the wake of the Dyson inquiry because of a 'lack of courage' at the top of the organisation.

Iain Dale was speaking to host of LBC original podcast Hunting Ghislaine and former Panorama journalist John Sweeney following the findings of the Dyson report.

Iain wondered if the Dyson report, which found the BBC 'covered up' malpractice by journalist Martin Bashir to obtain the interview with Diana, Princess of Wales means there is a "real danger" of the national broadcaster becoming "muzzled."

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He feared that up and coming journalists could be "discouraged from taking risks" in the wake of the report.

"There is a lack of courage at the very top and that reflects down" Mr Sweeney insisted. He went on to describe how programming critical of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wasn't flanked by investigative reporting on Boris Johnson.

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"This leads to people like me [and] the younger generation...being muzzled" Mr Sweeney feared.

He went on: "Telling truth to power isn't about 'would you like more milk in your tea sir,'" pointing out to Iain that young journalists could be dissuaded from investigating more pertinent issues in future so the BBC can avoid scrutiny.

He acknowledged that "the BBC is copping it for what it did wrong" but added that in the Princess Diana saga the media as a whole is responsible, not just the BBC.

He concluded by insisting that the current Director-General of the BBC has "got to step up, he's got to go on the airwaves and say sorry."