BBC apologises for Diana interview

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The BBC has published the Rt Hon Lord Dyson’s independent investigation into the circumstances around the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, with Director-General Tim Davie offering a “full and unconditional apology” for the process for securing the interview.

The BBC Board appointed Lord Dyson to lead the investigation on November 18th 2020. Lord Dyson examined documents and records from the time and interviewed a wide range of people involved in the making of the programme.

“The report demonstrates, I believe, that this has been the thorough and fair investigation I set out to do,” stated Dyson. “All key individuals gave comprehensive testimony and I am grateful for their cooperation. It enabled my investigation to establish facts based on evidence and for me to draw the detailed conclusions that have been set out today.”

Davie said the report into the circumstances around the 1995 interview was “both thorough and comprehensive”, adding that the BBC accepts Lord Dyson’s findings in full.

“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect,” he stated. “We are very sorry for this. Lord Dyson has identified clear failings.”

“While today’s BBC has significantly better processes and procedures, those that existed at the time should have prevented the interview being secured in this way. The BBC should have made greater effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time and been more transparent about what it knew. While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology. The BBC offers that today.”

“The BBC Board welcomes the publication of Lord Dyson’s report which it unreservedly accepts,” added BBC Chairman, Richard Sharp. “There were unacceptable failures. We take no comfort from the fact that these are historic. The BBC must uphold the highest possible standards. I want to thank Lord Dyson for the thoroughness and diligence of his work.”

The BBC is writing to a number of individuals involved or linked to these events to apologise directly. “We recognise that it has taken far too long to get to the truth,” says the Corporation.

“The 1995 Panorama interview received a number of awards at the time. We do not believe it is acceptable to retain these awards because of how the interview was obtained,” it concludes.

Julian Knight, Chair of  Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee  suggested the “forensic” report finally gets to the truth of the events behind the interview. “It raises a number of unacceptable failings by the BBC in its internal investigation of the events behind the interview and I welcome the full acceptance of the findings by the BBC.”

“The DCMS Committee will be reviewing the report’s findings and will scrutinise the BBCs response to the report as part of its ongoing scrutiny of the work of the BBC,” he confirmed.

 


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