British channel BBC apologized on Thursday (20) for obtaining in an unclear and unethical manner an interview with Princess Diana (1961-1997) in 1995, in which she revealed intimate details of her marriage that shattered the image of the real family.
The station called for a new investigation into the case in November last year, 25 years after the show aired. Diana’s brother Charles Spencer said he was tricked into introducing her to journalist Martin Bashir. The report, released Thursday, concluded that the journalist had acted deceptively and that the broadcaster, in the first formal investigation, covered up the case.
“Mr. Bashir urged him to make an appointment with Princess Diana,” said the report signed by former British Supreme Court Justice John Dyson, who led the investigation. “Mr. Bashir acted inappropriately, seriously violating the 1993 edition of the Producer Guidelines on Direct Bargaining.”
In a statement, the BBC said there were obvious loopholes in finding the irregularities and would return the awards the program has received, including a BAFTA, the highest honor for British television and cinema , won in 1996. “Although the BBC cannot turn back time after a quarter of a century, we can issue a full and unconditional apology,” read the statement signed by broadcaster CEO Tim Davie. “It is clear that the process to ensure maintenance has not been up to what the public has come to expect. We are very sorry for that. “
At the time, the ‘Panorama’ program, still on the air today, was seen by over 20 million people in the UK. The country watched Diana talk about the details of her marriage to heir to the throne Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth II, and admit that she herself had had an affair outside of marriage.
It was the first time that Diana, who divorced in 1996 and died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, has publicly commented on the ruin of her marriage to Charles. “There were three of us at this wedding, so it was a bit crowded,” she said, referring to her husband’s extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, who was to become his second wife in 2005.
Dyson’s report concluded that Bashir, until then a little-known journalist, had shown Diana’s brother fake bank statements suggesting that security guards were being paid to keep the princess under surveillance. The argument would have persuaded Spencer to schedule the interview.
After the show aired, Bashir repeatedly lied to his bosses about the methods of obtaining the interview, according to the investigation report. He said, for example, that he had not shown the false extracts to anyone. Dyson classifies some of Bashir’s reports at the time as “unreliable, unreliable, and in some cases dishonest.”
Even with other questions surrounding the interview, BBC officials failed to properly review the reporter’s version, conduct an internal investigation in a “woefully ineffective” manner, and withhold facts about the process. “Without justification, the BBC has failed to meet the high standards of integrity and transparency that are its hallmark,” the report said.
The conversation with Diana boosted Bashir’s career, and later he started getting other celebrity interviews, such as singer Michael Jackson (1958-2009). The pop star even filed a complaint with the British audiovisual regulator, accusing Bashir of having constructed and conveyed a distorted image of his behavior and conduct as a father.
Bashir still worked at the BBC as editor of religious affairs, but he resigned and left the station last week, citing health concerns. In a statement, he apologized for the false statements, called them “stupid”, but said they were not decisive for Diana to accept the interview, of which he remains “immensely proud”.
The investigation report includes a handwritten note from Diana, written a month after the interview, in which she said she did not regret the comments and that Bashir had not shown her any information she was not aware of. before.
Dyson took the document into consideration. “Due to his deceptive behavior, Mr. Bashir was able to arrange the meeting that led to the interview,” the report said. “But it is important to add that Princess Diana would probably have agreed to be interviewed.”