ON Robert Readman’s take of Lord Dyson’s findings, in the case of BBC Martin Bashir interview of Princess Diana in 1995, you would think this is first time in British media history there has ever been a case of “deception”.

The truth is mass media tabloids hacked into thousands of private phones from late 1990s until disclosures emerged in 2008. And before that there was phone tapping. Hacking and “deception” on an industrial scale.

Including and in particular hacking into and tapping into phones of the royal family.

This is the far larger issue, much of which for the first time was exposed in the Diana interview 1995.

The Panorama BBC Bashir interview was then a defining event in British public broadcasting. Never before had we had such a deeply honest account of the private life and struggles of a royal princess.

On a recent reading of transcripts what then shines through is the brilliance of the insights of Princess Diana, into her life and circumstances.

And her courage and bravery. On one front a young woman in a sham marriage, on a second front dealing with insatiable media.

As far then as Martin Bashir is concerned the media world, followed by public opinion, now comes down on him as a ton of bricks. But irony of ironies never has there been a more open and honest interview.

No where does Bashir lead or mislead. Princess Diana speaks her mind, forthrightly, on the most personal of matters, to the world. It was what she wanted as she made clear time and again.

When then we “judge” Martin Bashir, and the BBC of that time, we should surely look at means to an end.

Bashir used deception to pursue getting the interview. That was wrong but it had no negative on-going consequences. None at all.

And compare with tabloid hackers and phone tappers, hacking to get stories at “any cost”. Hacking hundreds of public figures, members of the public, and as we now know the phones of Prince William and Prince Harry.

These deceptions did then have serious and highly damaging consequences. Huge distress and upset for many, for many years.

So before we hang, draw, and quarter, a BBC journalist, and the BBC, I hope more, unlike Mr Readman, will take a larger view in full media context.


West Cliff Road, Bournemouth