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.

John Sergeant: BBC acted with incompetence over Naga Munchetty

John Sergeant said the BBC acted with incompetence over Naga Munchetty (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
John Sergeant said the BBC acted with incompetence over Naga Munchetty (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

John Sergeant has criticised the BBC for its handling of complaints against Breakfast host Naga Munchetty, saying the corporation acted with “incompetence”.

The BBC’s director-general, Lord Hall, recently reversed a decision to partially uphold a complaint against Munchetty for comments she made about US President Donald Trump during an on-air discussion with co-host Dan Walker.

Veteran broadcaster and former BBC political correspondent Sergeant said the issue should have been dealt with quietly by the corporation.

Sergeant, 75, told Radio Times magazine: “This was badly handled by BBC management and I’m not surprised that there have been angry comments from staff at closed meetings.

“The corporation has been accused of institutional racism. There have rightly been criticisms of the way Dan Walker wasn’t even involved in the original ruling, even though he was clearly egging on Naga to give her personal views.

“It looked to me like the return of our old friend: incompetence.”

He said it is a “sign of the times”, and that there is “increasing pressure” for presenters to become broadcasting personalities thanks to the rise of social media.

“Presenters, and especially BBC presenters, should not interview each other, and they should be careful about banter,” he said.

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Sergeant added: “These matters should also be dealt with by the editors on the spot.

“Complaints can be answered without slapping down the presenters in public, or trying to establish overly strict ground rules from on high.

Naga Munchetty
Naga Munchetty (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I fully support Naga. She is a very talented journalist and deserves to succeed.”

Sergeant said BBC bosses were “ultimately responsible” over the ruling, adding: “If there’s any danger of the BBC being found guilty of racism, they have no other option than to state firmly that this is not the case.

“But it should never have got that far. A quiet word of advice behind the scenes to the presenters would have made sure this problem did not arise.”

A complaint about Munchetty had been partially upheld by the BBC’s executive complaints unit (ECU) after she commented on remarks from Mr Trump, who told a group of female Democrats to “go back” to where they came from.

Lord Hall overturned the initial ruling by the ECU following a large public backlash.

Media watchdog Ofcom has since raised “serious concerns” about transparency in the BBC’s complaints process after the broadcaster failed to publish the reasoning for its initial decision over Munchetty, and the reversal.

Radio Times magazine is out on Tuesday.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]