Culture secretary

BBC must act quickly to restore trust, says UK Culture Secretary

LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) – Britain said on Monday the BBC must act quickly to restore trust after a damning report into how it secured a 1995 interview with Princess Diana revealed failings at heart of the state-funded broadcaster.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the Government would not ‘stand idly by’ after the report concluded that journalist Martin Bashir had used deception to secure Diana’s acquiescence, then BBC bosses said then covered up his wrongdoings.

“We will not make impulsive reforms, but will use the charter in the medium term (in 2022) to determine whether governance and regulatory arrangements need to be strengthened,” Dowden wrote in The Times on Monday.

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He said “the BBC can sometimes succumb to a ‘we know best’ attitude that is detached from both the criticisms and the values ​​of all parts of the nation it serves”.

“Groupthink in any organization leads to lack of challenge and poor decision-making,” he said. “That’s why cultural change must be at the forefront of the CEO’s and new chairman’s minds in the wake of the Dyson report.”

The investigation into the 1995 interview by former senior judge John Dyson prompted widespread criticism of the broadcaster, including an unprecedented rebuke from Diana’s eldest son Prince William. Read more

The broadcaster’s board, which is funded by a license fee paid by all homes that watch television, said on Monday it would review the effectiveness of the state-funded broadcaster’s editorial policies and governance.

“We must not simply assume that the mistakes of the past cannot be repeated today – we must ensure that is the case,” he said in a statement.

“Their work will focus on monitoring the BBC’s editorial practices and will examine in detail the robustness and independence of whistleblowing processes in editorial areas.”

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Reporting by Michael Holden; edited by Guy Faulconbridge

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