‘Time to Defund the BBC’: Princess Diana Interview Controversy Brings Back Fury Over Savile, Hall


Calls for a full investigation of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) coupled with appeals to strip the UK public service broadcaster of funding have filled social networks following the Dyson Investigation.

Public outrage over the failure of the BBC to ensure the transparency of its employee Martin Bashir, who interviewed Princess Diana in 1995, has flooded Twitter and other online platforms.

The Dyson Inquiry by British judge Lord Dyson was published on 14 May. It has found that Princess Diana was deceived by Bashir into a “Panorama” interview that – according to Prince William – eventually led “to her fear, paranoia, and isolation”.

Some users have demanded a full investigation of the broadcaster, which is funded mainly via the TV license fee charged to Brits. Others suggested that the BBC should be defunded all together.

— john spencer (@dennisspencer6) May 20, 2021

— sandieshoes (@sandieshoes) May 20, 2021

— REC (@rec777777) May 20, 2021

​The BBC said that “although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was keen on the idea of an interview with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect”.

The broadcaster also said they took no comfort from the fact that their failures are historic.

British TV host Piers Morgan criticised the BBC for “refusing” to stand accountable for their actions.

“How pathetically spineless. On the day the BBC is shamed by its own appalling lying, cheating & deadly duplicity over Bashir/Diana, the Corporation refuses to put up anybody on its own flagship news/interview show @BBCr4today to answer any questions about it. Cowards”, Morgan wrote

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 20, 2021

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 20, 2021

Jimmy Savile

Morgan was joined by many others in his fury over the failure of the BBC to probe its own misconduct in a timely and adequate manner. The name of the BBC’s “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It” host, Jimmy Savile, has been brought up by commentators online.

Savile was found to be a predatory sex offender only after his death in 2011, with hundreds accusing him of sexual harassment. The sex abuse allegations against Savile were largely dismissed during his life, which later led to accusations of public bodies, including the BBC, of covering up and failing to report the abuse.

— matthewsyed (@matthewsyed) May 21, 2021


— 🏴‍Are We All Asleep ?🏴▄▀▄▀▄🏴‍▄▀▄▀▄🏴‍ (@demindblower) May 20, 2021

— Stop The Tory Sleaze (@feedthekidsz) May 21, 2021

Stuart Hall

Another case, highlighted amid the BBC transparency debate, was that of Stuart Hall. In 2013, the former BBC presenter, Hall, who had a long career on shows like “It’s a Knockout”, admitted to indecently assaulting 13 girls, the youngest aged nine, between the 1960s and the 1980s. The BBC terminated Hall’s contract in light of the investigation and subsequently said they were “appalled by [his] disgraceful actions”.

— Mac (@Admiral_JKirk) May 20, 2021

​A BBC media editor said the Dyson report will “not just injure the BBC, but scar it”.

“And it should be granted that though it shows the historic failures of BBC journalists, it also shows the power and merit of journalism”, the BBC’s Amol Rajan added.

The BBC also suggested that “it is thanks to determined reporters” that the British public could today “have the first full account of the real story behind the most remarkable – and arguably consequential – interview in television history”.



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