United Kingdom

BBC's Martin Bashir Diana interview investigation finds 'no evidence' of cover-up

A review into the decision to appoint Martin Bashir as religious affairs correspondent at the BBC following his Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales found "no evidence" that the journalist was given the job to "contain and/or cover" up the events surrounding the 1995 programme.

Ken MacQuarrie, who conducted the review into the re-hiring of Martin Bashir, said: "In my view, the recruitment process for the religious affairs correspondent was targeted at finding the right person for the role.

"Although there were some shortcomings in the process by which he was re-employed, I am satisfied that he was ultimately appointed because his knowledge and experience were considered to be the best match to the requirements for the role at that time.

"I have found no evidence that Martin Bashir was re-hired to contain and/or cover up the events surrounding the 1995 Panorama programme. In my view, that theory is entirely unfounded."

The BBC's director-general Tim Davie said: "I would like to thank Ken MacQuarrie for his report. It finds the recruitment process was targeted to find the right person for the role and it was conducted in good faith.

"While the report finds processes were largely followed at the time, it is clear we need to reflect on the findings to ensure consistent best practice is applied in our recruitment.

"Finally, it is without doubt that had the organisation been aware of what is now publicly known because of the Dyson report Martin Bashir would have never been reappointed."

Ken MacQuarrie added: "As regards the due diligence conducted on Martin Bashir, the actions of the individuals involved in the recruitment and regrading of Martin Bashir can only properly be judged against the state of the BBC's corporate understanding as it was in 2016, and not as it stands now in 2021.

"None of the individuals involved in the recruitment of Martin Bashir had knowledge of all of the matters contained in the Dyson report.

"I have no doubt that if any of the individuals involved in the appointment of Martin Bashir in 2016 had been aware of what is now publicly known as a result of the Dyson report, Martin Bashir would have never been reappointed to the BBC."

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