BBC pays compensation to whistleblower sacked over Diana interview
BBC pays ‘significant’ sum to Panorama whistleblower who was sacked and defamed after revealing how Martin Bashir had used forged bank statements to land interview with Princess Diana
- The Princess of Wales was interviewed by Martin Bashir, 59, in 1995
- A report last year found Mr Bashir had forged documents to secure the interview
- When producer Mark Killick tried to raise the alarm, the BBC sacked him
- The BBC has now apologised to Mr Killick and agreed to pay him compensation
The BBC will pay a ‘significant sum’ to the journalist sacked after he raised concerns about Martin Bashir’s infamous 1995 interview with Princess Diana.
Mark Killick raised the alarm about forged documents used to coax Diana into agreeing to the interview. He was sacked within 24 hours of making the claim.
After blowing the whistle, Mr Killick told the PA news agency he was sacked from the programme due to ‘disloyalty’ and then smeared by the broadcaster.
On Tuesday June 28, the BBC apologised ‘unreservedly’ to Mr Killick and said he had acted ‘entirely properly’.
Diana, Princess of Wales gave an exclusive interview to Martin Bashir in 1995. It was watched by 23 million people and won Mr Bashir a Bafta the following year.
The Dyson Report, published last year, found Mr Bashir had secured the interview through ‘deceitful behaviour’ by forging bank documents to win Diana’s trust.
The Martin Bashir interview with Princess Diana in November 1995. On the programme, she famously said of Prince Charles: ‘Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’
Mark Killick said: ‘The BBC’s attempt to try and destroy my reputation rather than investigate my concerns shows just how desperate the BBC was to hide what had happened.’ The BBC apologised to him ‘unreservedly’
The BBC said in a statement: ‘Following publication of the Dyson Report last year, the BBC and former BBC Panorama senior reporter and producer Mark Killick today announce that a settlement has been reached between them.
‘The BBC apologises unreservedly for defamatory statements made of Mr Killick in 1996 in internal BBC documents during the Corporation’s investigations into events surrounding the interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.
‘Mr Killick acted entirely properly in referring his concerns about Martin Bashir’s interview with Diana, Princess of Wales to senior management.
‘The BBC has agreed to pay Mr Killick a significant sum in damages and costs, and we wish him all the best for the future.’
Mr Killick said the comprehensive apology was a ‘positive step forward’ but he fears the damage to the BBC’s reputation ‘may never recover’.
He said: ‘The BBC’s attempt to try and destroy my reputation rather than investigate my concerns shows just how desperate the BBC was to hide what had happened.
‘It was an extraordinary attempt to cover up wrongdoing and the climate of fear it created may well have stopped other BBC whistle-blowers from speaking out for a generation.
‘I still find it staggering that the BBC was so determined to conceal the truth that it launched a smear campaign against me to protect its tainted scoop.
‘I am grateful to Tim Davie and his team for finally setting the record straight. But the damage to the BBC’s reputation is immense and you can understand if BBC employees no longer have the courage to speak truth to power.’
Lord Dyson was tasked with investigating the interview which famously featured Diana saying: ‘Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.’
The investigation was launched after Earl Spencer alleged that Bashir showed him fake financial documents.
The inquiry found that the BBC covered up ‘deceitful behaviour’ used by Bashir to secure his headline-making world exclusive interview with Diana, and ‘fell short of high standards of integrity and transparency’.
After Lord Dyson’s report was published, Bashir apologised, adding that it was ‘a stupid thing to do’ but he will ‘always remain immensely proud of that interview’.
Mr Killick is now creative director at Media Zoo as well as running his own independent Television Production and Public Relations company.
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