Martin Bashir fan Jonathan Munro in pole position to run BBC news

Martin Bashir fan Jonathan Munro is in pole position to land a job running the BBC news operations despite rehiring disgraced reporter in 2016

  • Mr Munro was on the interview panel when Bashir was taken back on, then as Religious Affairs correspondent, in September 2016
  • Bashir was offered the job after ‘coffee meetings’ with senior executives and despite controversy surrounding his 1995 interview with Princess Diana 
  • In 2017, Bashir was promoted to Religious Affairs Editor
  • Bashir’s recruitment is set to cast a shadow over Mr Munro’s bid to become BBC’s Director of News, replacing Fran Unsworth who has quit her £340,000 job 

A BBC boss in pole position to land a powerful job running the Corporations news was involved in re-hiring rogue reporter Martin Bashir.

Jonathan Munro was on the interview panel when Bashir was taken back on, then as Religious Affairs correspondent, in September 2016.

Bashir was offered the job after ‘coffee meetings’ with senior executives and despite controversy surrounding his 1995 interview with Princess Diana. In 2017, he was promoted to Religious Affairs Editor.

Bashir’s recruitment is set to cast a shadow over Mr Munro’s bid to become the BBC’s Director of News, replacing Fran Unsworth who has quit her £340,000 job.

A BBC boss in pole position to land a powerful job running the Corporations news was involved in re-hiring rogue reporter Martin Bashir. Jonathan Munro (above) was on the interview panel when Bashir was taken back on, then as Religious Affairs correspondent, in September 2016

Bashir was offered the job after ‘coffee meetings’ with senior executives and despite controversy surrounding his 1995 interview with Princess Diana (above). In 2017, he was promoted to Religious Affairs Editor

Mr Munro discovered Bashir had faked documents to land his Princess Diana interview while doing background checks on him and raised it with his boss, James Harding, the head of news.

Yet Mr Munro, nicknamed Macavity by critics for his ability to evade the blame for crises, considered that the allegations against Bashir were ‘spent’, according to a June report.

In an email to staff in September 2016, Mr Munro welcomed Bashir back, saying: ‘Martin’s track record in enterprising journalism, including time in BBC News and at Panorama in the 1980s and 90s is well-known and respected in the industry . . .’

Bashir’s recruitment is set to cast a shadow over Mr Munro’s bid to become the BBC’s Director of News, replacing Fran Unsworth (pictured) who has quit her £340,000 job

Mr Munro discovered Bashir had faked documents to land his Princess Diana interview while doing background checks on him and raised it with his boss, James Harding, the head of news. Yet Mr Munro, nicknamed Macavity by critics for his ability to evade the blame for crises, considered that the allegations against Bashir were ‘spent’, according to a June report

The decision to rehire Bashir, who was suspended by the US network ABC in 2008 for ‘crude and sexist’ comments, shocked some former colleagues. ‘I always thought he was a bit of a bull*******,’ said one former senior BBC executive.

‘How on earth did he become religious correspondent? He [Bashir] made a real mess of America and yet Jonathan Munro recruited him. Jonathan was head of news gathering and it’s his responsibility.’

Mr Munro, now deputy director of BBC News, was also involved in the disastrous decision to fly a helicopter over Sir Cliff Richard’s home during a police raid in 2014. 

A judge ordered the BBC to pay £210,000 in damages and £2 million to cover legal costs.

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