Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ofcom to address the BBC’s ‘lack of transparency’ in Naga Munchetty rulings

Ofcom blasts BBC over lack of transparency in Naga Munchetty rulings (Peter Byrne/PA)
Ofcom blasts BBC over lack of transparency in Naga Munchetty rulings (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ofcom will address the BBC’s “lack of transparency as a matter of urgency” for failing to publish its reasoning for its initial decision over Naga Munchetty, and the Director-General’s move to reverse it.

The BBC’s executive complaints unit (ECU) last month ruled that BBC Breakfast presenter Munchetty breached editorial guidelines when she remarked on comments made by US president Donald Trump telling female Democrats to “go back” to where they came from.

The ruling was overturned last week by Lord Tony Hall following a large public backlash.

However, Ofcom has said that, following its own assessment, the July 17 broadcast of BBC Breakfast was duly impartial in accordance with the Broadcasting Code, and that an investigation was not justifiable.

The media regulator said it has received 18 complaints, the majority of which related to the fact the ECU initially partially upheld a complaint against Munchetty.

Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s group director for content and media policy, said: “Due impartiality rules are vital for maintaining high levels of trust in broadcast news.

“We took into account the format of the BBC Breakfast programme and the nature of the presenters’ exchange. Our assessment is that it would not breach our broadcasting rules and does not warrant investigation.”

Mr Bakhurst added: “More widely, we have serious concerns around the transparency of the BBC’s complaints process, which must command the confidence of the public.

“We’ll be requiring the BBC to be more transparent about its processes and compliance findings as a matter of urgency.”

Sir Lenny Henry
Sir Lenny Henry was among a group of black and Asian journalists and broadcasters who called for the BBC to reverse its ruling (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Ofcom said that the exchange between Munchetty and her co-host Dan Walker was not considered to have breached due impartiality rules.

The watchdog has published correspondence between the BBC and itself following what they said was a “lack of transparency” from the broadcaster.

In a letter from the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards David Jordan to Ofcom on October 2, he states: “We do not agree that the Royal Charter provides Ofcom with any self-standing power to investigate a BBC programme for breaches of content standards.

“Those powers are set out in, and are limited to, the BBC Agreement and Ofcom’s Procedures.”

In a reply on October 3, Mr Bakhurst said they had investigated the complaints, stating an article from the Charter saying that “one of the principal functions of Ofcom as the external regulator of the BBC is that it must secure the observance of standard in the relevant UK Public Services which must be in accordance with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code”.

He added: “In light of the complaints we have received and given the amount of public concern expressed about this case, and in particular the conflicting views coming from the BBC, we consider that it is in the public interest for Ofcom, as the external regulator of the BBC, to assess this programme against Section Five of the Broadcasting Code (due impartiality).”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We note Ofcom’s finding and the fact they agree with the Director-General’s decision.”

The initial decision from the ECU prompted a backlash from the likes of Sir Lenny Henry and Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who were among a group of black and Asian journalists and broadcasters who called for the BBC to reverse its ruling.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Chancellor Sajid Javid were also among those criticising the BBC for partially upholding the decision over Munchetty.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]