UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has called for a change of attitude at the BBC following the Dyson report into the circumstances surrounding Princess Diana’s 1995 interview with Martin Bashir on ‘Panorama’ .
Writing in Britain’s The Times newspaper on Monday, Dowden said: ‘The BBC needs to improve its culture to ensure this never happens again and that means a new emphasis on accuracy, fairness and diversity of opinion. . As others have observed, the BBC can sometimes succumb to a “we know best” attitude. Groupthink in any organization results in a lack of challenge and poor decision-making. This is why cultural change must be a priority after the Dyson report.
Dowden wrote that Dyson’s investigation revealed failures that struck at the heart of the BBC’s value and culture and revealed the shame that people who have worked in the company all their lives have felt about the revelations.
Dyson’s report was published last week and noted that the BBC “has failed to uphold the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark”. Dowden said he expects the BBC to “act quickly” on all of the report’s recommendations.
There will also be actions from the UK government. “Lord Dyson’s report reveals damning failings at the heart of the BBC. We will now reflect on Lord Dyson’s in-depth report and consider whether further governance reforms at the BBC are needed during the Charter’s mid-term review,” Dowden tweeted on May 20, following the publication of the Dyson report.
Lord Dyson’s report reveals damning failings at the heart of the BBC.
We will now reflect on Lord Dyson’s in-depth report and whether further reforms to BBC governance are needed during the Charter’s mid-term review. (1/2)
—Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) May 20, 2021
“I welcome the fact that the new leaders have launched this independent investigation and I expect them to ensure that this never happens again.”
“Nor will we sit idly by in government,” Dowden wrote in The Times on Monday. He said the government should not get involved in editorial decisions, but “should reflect on the lack of scrutiny and challenge these decisions have revealed”.
“We will not make knee-jerk reforms, but will use the charter’s mid-term review to determine whether governance and regulatory arrangements need to be strengthened,” Dyson wrote. “We will start preparatory work on this now.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had weighed in on the matter, saying: “I really hope the BBC takes every possible step to ensure nothing like this happens again.”
The Culture Secretary also noted the looming threat from deep-pocketed global streamers, an issue that has been an ongoing topic of discussion among UK public service broadcasters, such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5.
“Of course, as we look to the long term, there are more fundamental questions about the right funding model, shape and structure for the BBC,” Dowden wrote. “With increasing competition from platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, the BBC cannot retreat. Rather, it must be equipped to step up British values and distinctive quality programming with renewed vigor and ambition. .
“A BBC which the public genuinely trusts and respects and which serves the whole nation must be its defining mission,” Dowden concluded.