The BBC has opened an investigation after one of their journalists was involved in a heated debate on Twitter.
Julia Hartley-Brewer, a host for Talk Radio, tweeted an image of a facemask on Sunday that had a Swedish flag on it. The Tweet was captioned saying: “I’ve just ordered one of these. If I have to wear a sodding mask then at least I’ll wear a symbol of freedom at the same time.”
The Swedish reference is due to Sweden’s anti-lockdown approach in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Until recently, Sweden had a more relaxed approach to the coronavirus pandemic compared to other European countries.
I've just ordered one of these. If I have to wear a sodding mask then at least I'll wear a symbol of freedom at the same time. pic.twitter.com/O9VzzSF4Vn
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) November 29, 2020
The Tweet sparked a comment by BBC Nottingham Presenter Mark Dennison, who accused Ms Hartley-Brewer of being “more interested in her own ego than actual human lives” and called the radio host an “idiot”.
Ms Hartley-Brewer replied to the comment saying: “So I’m an ‘idiot’ & care more about my own ego than ‘actual human lives’ even though I wear a face mask every day? Maybe he thinks a logo he doesn’t like will kill people? Utterly bizarre.”
She also accused the Nottingham presenter of breaching the BBC’s social media rules by saying: “Interesting comment from a BBC journalist given the DG’s social media rules.”
Mr Dennison responded, writing: “A quick look at your timeline told me all I needed to know. Please stop spreading dangerous falsehoods.”
Adding: “Also, your Swedish reference is now sadly dated – have you seen their new rules?”
The BBC has confirmed an investigation has been launched into the tweets as, under new Director-General Tim Davie, the BBC has cracked down on journalists’ use of social media in order to meet its impartiality commitments.
A BBC spokesperson stated: “Impartiality is the cornerstone of the BBC, so we have strict guidelines in place that all staff must follow. Any breach is dealt with swiftly and seriously. These tweets are now subject to an internal investigation.”