A BBC presenter has been judged to have broken the BBC’s impartiality guidelines… again.
Emily Maitlis, the presenter of BBC programme Newsnight, received admonishment from the organisation following her lack of impartiality while using her personal Twitter account.
Ms Maitlis retweeted an anti-Government triad originally posted by former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan. The tweet attacked the Government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic with no indication that the presenter was not endorsing the content of the Tweet.
Mr Morgan originally tweeted:
“If failing to quarantine properly is punishable by 10yrs in prison, what is the punishment for failing to properly protect the country from a pandemic?”
According to the BBC’s impartiality guidelines, employees are not allowed to express personal opinions that do not show impartiality.
The code states: “Expressions of opinion on social media can take many forms – from straightforward tweets or updates, sharing or liking content, following particular accounts or using campaigning or political hashtags.
“If for example a member of staff repeatedly likes or shares, without comment, content reflecting a particular point of view on a matter of public controversy it might create the impression that individual agrees with that view.”
In the case of Ms Maitlis, the BBC found that:
“The retweeted material was clearly controversial, implying sharp criticism of the Government and there was nothing in the surrounding context to make clear that Ms Maitlis was not endorsing it.”
The retweet by Emily Maitlis was taken down after a short period of time, but this did not stop an investigation into the matter.
Ms Maitlis has been in hot water following breaches in impartiality before. The BBC received over 24,000 complaints for her monologue on Dominic Cummings’ infamous trip to County Durham. At the time, the BBC said that Ms Maitlis broke the impartiality rules, but no action was taken.