The BBC chief “help a friend land a role” advising the corporation on standards | Pro IQRA News

The BBC chief “help a friend land a role” advising the corporation on standards

 | Pro IQRA News

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BBC chairman Richard Sharpe reportedly helped his close friend secure a paid role advising the corporation on its editorial standards.

Sharpe has offered Caroline Daniel, a PR executive and former editor of FT Weekend, for a position in the wake of the Martin Bashir scandal, according to The Sunday Times.

It was reported that he was at her wedding to former Emmerdale actor Christopher Villiers in 2019 – with whom he was also close.


BBC Chairman Richard Sharpe appears before the Commons Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (House of Commons)

Sharpe, already facing pressure to resign due to the circumstances surrounding his appointment, is said to have introduced Daniel to the BBC Independent’s senior director who gave her the job.

The appointment made others feel she was “shoe-sick” in the role, which was paid £15,000 a year for 15 days’ work, according to the paper.

Then the former Goldman Sachs banker, 67, was reported to have agreed to pick her for a second position last June as an outside editorial advisor to the foundation without publicly declaring their personal relationships.

He did not withdraw himself from discussions about appointment to the BBC’s Nominations Committee, which he chairs, nor did he profess friendship in declaring his personal interests, according to the Sunday Times.

The paper notes that Ms Daniel has stated the relationship was “fully disclosed to BBC executives at the time” – an account backed by the company – and is believed to include managing director Tim Davie.


BBC Broadcasting House (Ian West/PA)

She was quoted as saying, “The relationship with Richard Sharpe was fully disclosed to BBC executives at the time, in line with BBC requirements.”

Daniel, 51, was hired to help revise editorial standards that came on the heels of a damning report on Bashir’s Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales in 1995.

Among others who supported the review, led by BBC Independent Senior Director Sir Nicholas Serota, were non-executive directors Sir Robbie Gibb and Ian Hargreaves.


Photographers swarmed around Match of the Day host Gary Lineker (James Manning/Penn)

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A source close to Serota’s review told the paper, “Other people were uncomfortable about their relationship — they felt she was being drawn into the review. Still, it was helpful to have her point of view.”

The BBC created two “editorial consultants” positions for external experts to provide guidance on journalistic standards as a result of the review.

The report will put more pressure on Sharpe, who has been embroiled in a nepotism dispute over helping former Prime Minister Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan facility in recent months.

An investigation is being launched into the circumstances surrounding his appointment, which were already controversial after donations he had previously made to the Conservative Party.

We are fully satisfied with the full compliance of all processes and proceduresBBC spokesperson

He faced renewed scrutiny as his position came into question amid the backlash against the BBC’s decision to remove sports presenter Gary Lineker from the air for comparing the language used to launch a new government policy for asylum seekers with Germany in the 1930s in a tweet.

Lawmakers have already criticized him for his actions “in violation of the standards expected of individuals” applying for high-profile public appointments and found him to have committed “serious errors of judgment” in a multi-party report last month.

The president can only be removed from office by the government – not the BBC – and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has repeatedly refused to come to Mr Sharp’s defence, citing the ongoing investigation.

The BBC said it was “completely satisfied” with the full compliance of its operations.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Following the completion of Serota’s review of the editorial process, governance and culture in October 2021 – and in line with recommendations in the review – the BBC appointed two independent external editorial experts to advise the BBC Editorial Guidelines and Standards Committee.

These roles have been formally advertised externally and are open to anyone to apply. The appointment process has been overseen by the Nominations Committee, in line with BBC rules, and appointments have been approved by the full BBC Board.

This process clearly defined the expectations of the independence required for the job, and included full disclosure of any relevant conflicts of interest. We are fully satisfied with the full compliance of all processes and procedures.”

Mr. Sharp has been contacted for comment.