BBC a ‘very different’ organisation to 25 years ago, broadcaster says

·1-min read

The BBC has said it is a “very different” organisation to 25 years ago when the Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, aired – and it has made “significant changes” to its editorial guidelines.

The broadcaster has published a document highlighting the steps it has taken since 1995 to improve the conduct of its employees, protect whistleblowers and overhaul its complaints process.

In his report into how Panorama secured the explosive interview, Lord Dyson said Martin Bashir had used “deceitful behaviour” in a “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines, and that the broadcaster’s subsequent investigation had been “flawed and woefully ineffective”.

Lord Dyson – Bashir report
Martin Bashir (Ian West/PA)

According to the BBC, it has since invested “considerable time and effort — and exposed itself to a significant amount of internal and external scrutiny — to ensure that its culture, policies and practices reflect the highest standards of fairness and integrity”.

This includes changes to the editorial guidelines, including the introduction of rules around the handling of sensitive information and a “red flag” process to engage senior editorial staff in potentially controversial programmes.

Whistleblowers are now afforded direct access to a non-executive director on the BBC board.

The complaints process has also been “overhauled” including the introduction of a team of complaints handlers reporting directly to the director-general.

Since 1995, the BBC has also introduced a governance system with clearer responsibilities around editorial accountability, as well as external regulation from media watchdog Ofcom.