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‘Diana Sours’ it for Martin Bashir, the BBC journalist

On 31st August 1997, when Diana, Princess of Wales, met with a tragic accident and died at the young age of 36, it not only left the entire nation in a state of shock but also led to a global outpour of grief and mourning.

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People’s Princess Diana was one of the most loved figures of the 20th Century. Her overgenerous and extraordinary life not only humanized the pre-existing notions around the British Monarchy but also created a groundbreaking movement solely dedicated to the welfare of the community.

On 31st August 1997, when Diana, Princess of Wales, met with a tragic accident and died at the young age of 36, it not only left the entire nation in a state of shock but also led to a global outpour of grief and mourning. India has a great following for Diana, and time and again we can see many stories about her on social media, especially when Netflix came up with its web series called “The Crown”. The latest season has again generated immense interest, in part because it features Lady Diana Spencer’s marriage to Prince Charles –– yet another indicator of the enduring popularity of Princess Diana.

Meanwhile, recently Martin Bashir, the BBC journalist who tricked Princess Diana into giving an explosive interview, apologized to Princes William and Harry but said claims linking his actions to her death were “unreasonable”. A report by retired senior judge John Dyson found that Bashir commissioned faked bank statements that falsely suggested some of Diana’s closest aides were being paid by the security services to keep tabs on her.

Bashir, 58, then showed them to Diana’s brother Charles Spencer in a successful bid to convince him to arrange a meeting between himself and Diana and earn her trust. But William said Bashir’s actions and the interview had made “a major contribution” to the demise of his parent’s relationship and “contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation” in her final years.

When we asked our readers about their opinions on the entire incident they came up with their pain, joy, grief and also analyses while quoting on the subject.

Jaya Taman, 75-years housewife and staunch admirer of Diana said, “Princess was honest about her mistakes, unlike her soon-to-be ex-husband about his mistakes and diplomatically sidestepped Bashir’s question about Charles’ fitness to ever become king. I still remember that interview and suspect that Bashir, even though he tended to toy a bit with his subjects, was impressed with shy Diana. Journalism was always abused, then and now nothing much has changed.”

Suman Redij in her 50s said, “Personally I don’t believe that this was the case and that the interview with Diana was only given on her terms and with her permission for the questions that she was asked. She wanted to get her story across and she wanted the truth to be known which was a huge risk for her to take and one that could have backfired on her which she was well aware of and so was Martin Bashir who could have also been victimized and blamed for it if he had in any way deceived or tricked Diana to reveal the things she did.”

Rangi Naresh from Telangana, a 70-years-old retired serviceman said, “I was a great fan of Diana and her lifestyle, we used to read every bit about her, those days there were no smartphones or social media. In a couple of magazines and some news on national television, she was the crush of many hearts. I started getting irritated with media persons the way she was being chased until she leaves earth. Media was never kind to her; Martin Bashir took advantage of the vulnerability.”

Namrata Thakkar, in her late 50s and entrepreneur, said, “Today Martin Bashir is in his early 60s, blaming him today makes no sense. That’s the job of the interviewer. That’s why Oprah was so successful. The interviewer should be able to get some revealing nuggets. Otherwise, why would people watch? Of course, to counteract that, interviewees stipulate beforehand what kind of questions they will not accept, as in Diana’s mother maintaining she would not answer any questions about Diana in her interviews. And when Diane Sawyer even went near it, she walked out.”

Zenobia Khodaiji, a Feng Shui expert of Mumbai said, “I was a great fan of Diana’s hairstyle. Those days we were young and tried imitating her, I don’t want to blame a journalist for the tragic death but these photographers who chase celebrities should draw the line of limit. When I saw the news of her death, we literally mourned for many days.”

Kinjal Bhaveshi, a young woman from Mumbai said, “I actually came to know much about Diana after watching the Netflix series, seeing how women were always susceptible. She had her share of pains more than what she could take. I feel really sorry for the way the media damaged her until her death. Even today the media has not changed much.”

Aparajita Mangalampalli said, “I loved the princess and for me, the concept of fairy tail began with her. Real king, queen, princess, their marriage. As a young girl, I was mesmerized by Diana a lot and used to reciprocate to her pain and joy, even if Martin Bashir rendered an apology, he cannot repay the damage done.”

Sangeeta Amladi, at the age of 75 said, “I remember her quote “I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am”. She exactly lived like that, today she would have been a senior citizen, decades younger to me, she would have lived but the media made it very difficult for her”. I still remember those days of her death and media madness, today one editor apologizes and quits her job, how will that bring back Diana?”

Gaurav Kaul an IT expert said, “I believe that the conduct was indeed far from moral, professional and editorial ethics. First, the documents presented to gain the required confidence for the interview were fake and Mr Bashir acted in a deceitful manner and on top BBC gave a clean chit through its internally conducted shabby investigation but the fact remains that there certainly was a fire which resulted in all the smoke. And no one in the world with whatever stature should be beyond public scrutiny when required.”

The 55-minute interview, which was aired on BBC’s Panorama programme, featured Princess Diana giving a detailed account of her turbulent relationship with Prince Charles and opening up about his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. A year ahead of its 100th anniversary, the BBC — widely considered the cornerstone of the UK’s journalistic tradition — finds itself amid a raging controversy over one of its biggest scoops yet. A recently released report based on an independent inquiry revealed that former BBC reporter Martin Bashir used deceitful means to obtain a sensational interview with Princess Diana in 1995, and his actions were covered up for decades by his bosses at the public broadcaster.

Dr Vaidehi Tamanhttps://vaidehitaman.com
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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