Diana interview scandal: BBC under pressure

A new investigative report shows that BBC reporter Martin Bashir falsified bank statements in 1995 to secure a personal interview with Princess Diana. The statements suggested that she was being spied on by staff. In the interview, Diana spoke very candidly about her marriage and her environment. The BBC appears to have covered up Bashir's misconduct. Diana's sons William and Harry have now voiced sharp criticism of the broadcaster.

Open/close all quotes
Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

Devastating blow to BBC's image

The Wiener Zeitung is astonished that the world's oldest national broadcaster resorted to such methods:

“Because the BBC epitomises public service respectability, one would never have thought that [the interview with Diana] was not entirely kosher. ... As expected, her sons William and Harry are outraged. In William's view the interview fuelled the paranoia of an already vulnerable woman. This is undoubtedly true. In Harry's view the falsified material contributed to the spiral of events that ultimately led to his mother's untimely death. That is too harsh. ... But for the BBC, which had already been confronted with scepticism about what prompted the interview in 1995 and only half-heartedly investigated the matter, this is a devastating blow to its image.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

Foolishly naive

The BBC stupidly allowed itself to be duped by Martin Bashir, says the Irish Examiner:

“The BBC enthusiastically engaged in all of the corporate behaviours that should be listed as banned in a notice in every boardroom. They blamed and pursued the whistleblowers. They kidded themselves they had done tough investigations - Oh My God, Martin Bashir had even CRIED during one of the meetings. ... They lined up mutually incompatible possibilities to accept: That a reporter who had forged documents to no purpose was still an honourable man. They were conned as Diana was conned ... To the detriment of truth and of a great organisation.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Incorrigible arrogance

The BBC is unlikely to learn its lesson from this latest scandal, The Daily Telegraph believes:

“The same was said after the Jimmy Savile episode and Newsnight's disgraceful traducing of Lord McAlpine. These scandals pre-dated the last charter renewal and, while there were changes to governance, there is no real evidence that the culture changed. ... Some of the BBC's most high-profile journalists have expressed their irritation at being 'lectured' to by newspapers, implying that the corporation is somehow morally superior to other media outlets. This institutional arrogance needs to be reined in.”