‘She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview’
A report into the journalist’s interview with the Princess of Wales released on Thursday came to the conclusion the way in which the interview was arranged was “deceitful.”
It was discovered that Mr Bashir, 58, had faked documents to obtain the 1995 interview with the princess. He then lied to BBC managers about these, the investigation reported.
An inquiry, led by retired judge Lord Dyson, said that the BBC “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark.”
In a statement responding to the report’s findings, Mr Bashir said: “This is the second time that I have willingly fully cooperated with an investigation into events more than 25 years ago. I apologised then, and I do so again now, over the fact that I asked for bank statements to be mocked up. It was a stupid thing to do and was an action I deeply regret. But I absolutely stand by the evidence I gave a quarter of a century ago, and again more recently.
“I also reiterate that the bank statements had no bearing whatsoever on the personal choice by Princess Diana to take part in the interview. Evidence handed to the inquiry in her own handwriting (and published alongside the report today) unequivocally confirms this, and other compelling evidence presented to Lord Dyson reinforces it. In fact, despite his other findings, Lord Dyson himself in any event accepts that the princess would probably have agreed to be interviewed without what he describes as my ‘intervention’.
“It is saddening that this single issue has been allowed to overshadow the princess’ brave decision to tell her story, to courageously talk through the difficulties she faced, and, to help address the silence and stigma that surrounded mental health issues all those years ago. She led the way in addressing so many of these issues and that’s why I will always remain immensely proud of that interview.”
A Panorama investigation into the interview will be shown at 7pm on Thursday on BBC One.