It has been revealed that Martin Bashir attributed the accusations of using deception to secure an interview with Princess Diana to professional envy and his personal background and ethnicity.
The BBC has recently made public approximately 3,000 internal emails regarding the controversy surrounding the 1995 interview with Diana, following a court order in December.
More than two years ago, journalist Andy Webb submitted a freedom of information (FoI) request following allegations that BBC managers attempted to conceal Bashir’s actions.
The BBC stated that any insinuation of acting with malicious intent is incorrect.
On July 20, 2020, Bashir sent an email to Robert Seatter, the head of BBC history, stating that the interview was not obtained using forged documents and suggesting that there would have been less controversy if a journalist with a dynastic background, such as David Dimbleby, had conducted it.
“I apologize for the resurgence of the ‘forgery’ story. While it was not discussed during the interview, it has been used by some to justify professional jealousy within the company.”
“It was evident that there was some displeasure towards a second-generation immigrant of non-white, working-class background for daring to enter a Royal Palace and conduct an interview.”
“It would have been much simpler if one of the dynastic families, such as Dimbleby and others, had taken care of it!”
The controversy surrounding Bashir’s acquisition of a 1995 Panorama interview with Diana came to light when former BBC news director Tony Hall confidentially revealed that Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, had provided Bashir with bank records.
In 1995, Bashir presented falsified bank records to Earl Spencer in order to gain access to Diana, which was a clear violation of the broadcaster’s producer guidelines.
According to PA Media, Bashir informed Seatter that he received commendation from the former Prince of Wales’ team for refraining from conducting interviews about the program.
He wrote: “Since returning to the UK in 2015, and rejoining the BBC in 2016, senior staff in the Prince of Wales’s Office (to my surprise) have expressed their gratitude for my declining of all requests to discuss the interview.
I am certain that you will comprehend that the statements made by the deceased princess have been used to criticize the remaining members of the Royal Family, specifically the Prince of Wales [Charles], which is something I have never intended to do.
On Tuesday, a representative from the BBC stated that they have taken their obligation to follow the tribunal’s instructions very seriously. As a result, they have now provided about 3,000 documents, totaling 10,000 pages, to Mr. Webb.
This recent release contains numerous pages of duplicates and content that was not relevant to the 1995 Panorama, but was still picked up by the electronic scans.
“We have made necessary redactions in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. There is no evidence to support the claims that the BBC acted dishonestly in 2020 and we stand by our statement that this suggestion is incorrect.”