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May.22: 2021: @acenewsservices

Newspaper headlines: ‘Fallout for BBC after Diana report, and Harry interview: BBC’s editorial failings over the Panorama interview with Princess Diana dominates the front pages again – along with Prince Harry’s revelations about his mental health’

Daily Telegraph Saturday
The fallout from the report into the BBC’s 1995 Martin Bashir interview with Princess Diana continues to lead several front pages. According to the Daily Telegraph, ministers are considering plans for a new BBC board made up of former journalists to oversee editorial output and complaints about its coverage. It comes as the corporation is under pressure to explain why Bashir was rehired in 2016 as a correspondent “despite the huge shadow that hung over him”, the paper adds.

BBC News: Staff:

The Daily Mail reports that Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, has written to the Met Police asking them to investigate the BBC over the interview. The paper says it will “dramatically intensify” the pressure on the Met for a full probe, and calls it “one of the worst crises” in the BBC’s history. The Met has promised to assess any new evidence in the report.

According to the Guardian, there are fears about the “feeding frenzy” on the BBC. It quotes Sir Michael Lyons, a former chair of the BBC Trust, who warns there is a danger of destroying something that “would be impossible to recreate”. It comes after Ofcom – the media watchdog – said the report raised important questions about the BBC’s transparency and accountability.

Bashir is the focus of the Daily Mirror’s front page. The paper has spoken to the ex-wife of footballer George Best, who was a subject of a documentary Bashir made in 2000 as he was treated for chronic liver damage. Alex Best claims she felt manipulated by the journalist.

Prince Harry is pictured on the front of several papers taking part in a type of therapy session during an appearance on a television series about mental health with host Oprah Winfrey.

The Sun says Prince Charles was left “deeply hurt” by some of the things that Harry said in the interview, including his family’s unwillingness to talk about the death of Diana and how he was expected to “suffer” in silence.The impact of Prince Harry’s interview on the Royal Family also makes the front of the Daily Express. The paper calls his comments an “attack” and claims it “may have deepened the family rift beyond repair”.

The Times leads with Harry’s comments, in particular him saying how he was willing to use drink and drugs to try and deal with his mother’s death. “I thought my family would help,” he said. “But every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect.” The paper also reports the BBC’s licence fee could be cut or frozen for the next five years after a senior government source said its reputation had been “tarnished”.

The Daily Star suggests Harry’s interview was a “bombshell”. Rather than naming the prince, it calls him a “shy bloke” and censors part of his face – poking fun at the prince’s difficult relationship with the tabloid press.

The i weekend leads on coronavirus, and in particular the “legal grey area” over whether children can miss school if they need to quarantine after returning from a half-term holiday abroad. The paper says the government is reluctant to see parents fined if their children miss school after returning from amber countries. Travel to destinations on the amber list is still not advised, and anyone coming back must self-isolate.

The Financial Times has published a travel special, but its top story is on comments from the chief executive of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot. In his first interview since the possible link between the jab and rare blood clots, Mr Soriot defended the vaccine and told the FT it was only slightly less effective against the Indian variant. He also said the new booster jab performed well against variants

The Daily Telegraph says ministers are considering an overhaul of the BBC’s editorial oversight to ensure the Martin Bashir scandal can never be repeated.

The Daily Mail reports that Earl Spencer has written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick alleging his sister was the victim of blackmail and fraud. 

In the Guardian, a former chairman of the BBC warns against the “feeding frenzy” engulfing the corporation. Sir Michael Lyons tells the paper there may be some lessons to learn, but the BBC remains important to the quality of life in the UK. 

“It’s critical that any changes are measured and we don’t destroy something it would be impossible to recreate,” he adds.

Many of the papers have questions. As Charles Moore puts it in the Telegraph, what should happen after the Martin Bashir affair? Can the BBC emerge unscathed from the crisis?

According to the Times, the crisis can only intensify the debate over the BBC’s future, as it reports that the licence fee could be cut or frozen for the next five years. 

For the Financial Times, the Dyson report has left the BBC’s flank dangerously open to its enemies in Westminster and the popular press.

“Pressure grows to reform BBC”, is the headline in the Express, while the Daily Mail warns the corporation not to think that the Panorama scandal was “some sort of unfortunate aberration” and calls for “urgent repair” of what it calls its appalling governance. 

In the Telegraph’s view, the organisation requires radical transformation to allow it to carve a new mission for itself.

Harry interview

The Duke of Sussex’s renewed criticisms of his family – in a discussion with Oprah Winfrey for Apple TV+ – are the focus for the Daily Express and the Sun. 

“Prince Harry hurting Royal Family to the core”, is the headline for the Express.

The Sun says Harry has left his father, Prince Charles, deeply “hurt” and “wounded”. A royal source is quoted as saying that Harry has “clearly decided to villainize his father”.

The Me You Can’t See / Apple TV+The duke spoke about his family’s unwillingness to talk about the death of Diana

Taking stock of the events of the last few days, an editorial in the Timessays the monarchy and the BBC are two of Britain’s most respected institutions, which at their best play a unifying role in the country’s national life. 

Yet both are facing profound challenges. 

Some of the fiercest criticism of the BBC’s conduct has come from the Royal Family itself, the paper goes on, pitting one institution against another. 

The Telegraph has learnt that Boris Johnson is poised to announce that big weddings will be allowed to take place from 21 June. 

According to the paper, government sources say confidence about the safety of weddings involving more than 30 people has grown following results from the pilot test events at big venues, where just 15 people tested positive for Covid out of 58,000 attendees. 

A Whitehall source tells the paper: “There’s increasing confidence that vaccines are working against all variants.”

Meanwhile according to the i newspaper, parents who take their children to Spain over half-term are set to avoid fines for missing school when they quarantine on their return – and will instead receive online learning. 

Spain has said British tourists will be allowed into the country from Monday – though it remains on the UK government’s amber list.

The i says the government and schools are reluctant to pursue fines for non-attendance after a trip abroad, for fear it could undermine the quarantine system.

Several papers look ahead to Dominic Cummings’ appearance before a committee of MPs investigating key government decisions during the coronavirus crisis. 

The Guardian says the evidence of Boris Johnson’s former aide next Wednesday promises to be the parliamentary event of the year so far – and may yet determine the fate of the prime minister. 

Hurt by the manner of his departure from No 10 and the briefing war that ensued, Mr Cummings seems intent on doing maximum damage to his former boss, the paper adds. 

The Express says senior Tories are braced for havoc when Storm Dom blows into Westminster.

And finally, Britain’s longest-running children’s comic, the Beano, has decided to stop using the nickname of one of its most popular personalities so as to avoid offending young readers. 

The rotund character, Frederick Brown, will no longer be referred to as “Fatty” in The Bash Street Kids comic strip, the Telegraph reports. 

Instead, he will exclusively be called Freddy – or perhaps Frederick if he’s being told off by his mother. 

The editorial director tells the paper: “Kids come in all shapes and sizes, and we absolutely celebrate that. We don’t want to risk someone using ‘Fatty’ in a mean way.”

#AceNewsDesk report …….Published: May.22: 2021:

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