BBC’s reputation badly tarnished by Panorama scandal, says culture minister (Report)

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BBC’s reputation badly tarnished by Panorama scandal, says culture minister (Report)
BBC’s reputation badly tarnished by Panorama scandal, says culture minister (Report)

The reputation of the BBC has been “badly tarnished” by the Panorama interview scandal but there are no plans to dismantle or defund the corporation, the culture minister has said.

John Whittingdale told MPs the fact that the failures had taken place at the UK’s national broadcaster was “an even greater source of shame”.

In his report, Lord Dyson, a former master of the rolls, said journalist Martin Bashir used “deceitful conduct” to obtain the 1995 interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, which was then covered up by a “woefully ineffective” internal investigation.

Speaking during an urgent question on the inquiry’s findings, Mr Whittingdale told the Commons: “Lord Dyson’s report makes shocking reading.

“It details not just an appalling failure to uphold basic journalistic standards, but also an unwillingness to investigate complaints and to discover the truth.

“That these failures occurred at our national broadcaster is an even greater source of shame.

“The new leadership at the BBC deserves credit for setting up an independent inquiry and for accepting its findings in full, however the reputation of the BBC, its most precious asset, has been badly tarnished and it is right that the BBC board and wider leadership now consider urgently how confidence and trust in the corporation can be restored.

“It is not for the Government to interfere in editorial decisions, but it is the job of government to ensure that there is a strong and robust system of governance at the BBC with effective external oversight.”

Mr Whittingdale stressed the continued importance of the public service broadcaster, but said it had fallen short.

“In an era of fake news and disinformation, the need for public service broadcasting and trusted journalism has never been stronger,” he said

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