Mr Reporter, apologies don’t uncoffin losses - GulfToday

Mr Reporter, apologies don’t uncoffin losses

Shaadaab S. Bakht

@ShaadaabSBakht

Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.

Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for Tehelka.com, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.

LadyDianaPrinceCharleswithPrincesWilliamandHarry750

Lady Diana, Prince Charles with Princes William and Harry. AFP

I am a journalist and I know that some members of my fraternity do exaggerate, do distort, do fictionalise, do sensationalise and do not always speak the truth. They, like most human beings, do it for saleability, the soiled monarch of all human goals.

Many years ago an extremely talented reporter won an award for exposing some officials’ unpardonable misdeeds in an Indian state. He deservingly set the world of news talking with his report. Then for reasons, unknown to us, he decided to exploit the trust ordinary readers had invested in him. He went on to file a lengthy report against a very influential politician. The article won him accolades from all sorts of people. But the leader denied the charges, levelled against him in the report, and sued the reporter. The politician won the case and the reporter lost his reputation because the charges were based on sources who didn’t exist. It was a shrewd piece of absorbing fiction that almost cost the journalist his career.     

Martin Bashir indeed grew. But an entire family paid the price.


Therefore, I am not surprised that BBC’s staff member, Martin Bashir, took recourse to trickery to get an interview with Lady Diana.

Bashir, little known before the interview, became a household name after the interview. It was really disgusting for those doing their jobs honestly to discover that the mother weapon used by Bashir in his desperate search for stardom was forgery. He indeed grew. But an entire family paid the price.  

A report found that Bashir commissioned fake bank statements that falsely suggested some of Diana’s closest aides were being paid by the security services to keep tabs on her. Bashir 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.

Bashir apologised to Princes William and Harry for what he did. But apologies don’t uncoffin losses.

William very rightly said Bashir’s actions and the interview had made “a major contribution” to the demise of his parents’ relationship and “contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation” in her final years. Harry said, “The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.” Diana famously said in the interview “there were three people” in her marriage.  

Granted, it is human to chase success, but when desire crushes truth under its wheels achievement begins to rot.

Well, Bashir at one point did bring home smiles, but sadly the tears are now unlikely to dry up.


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