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 D-G 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.”
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.”
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.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “We note Ofcom’s finding and the fact they agree with the Director-General’s decision.”
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?