Ofcom drawn into row over censure of BBC presenter Naga Munchetty
Ofcom will assess the case of BBC presenter Naga Munchetty after she was reprimanded by her employers for criticising Donald Trump.
The BBC has suffered a fierce backlash for upholding a complaint against the BBC Breakfast host, after she said the US President’s call for a group of female politicians to “go back” to their own countries was “embedded in racism”.
Munchetty has since received the backing of BBC bosses, including director-general Lord Tony Hall, who said the broadcaster was not impartial when it came to racism.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: “We have recently received complaints relating to this programme and we are assessing the content against our own broadcasting rules.”
It is understood that the assessment relates to the programming, based on Ofcom rules, and not to the internal procedures of the BBC.
The Corporation’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) ruled that Munchetty crossed the line when she commented on statements made by Mr Trump.
She told her co-presenter Dan Walker during a July 17 broadcast: “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism,” adding: “I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.”
Questioned further by Walker, she said she was “absolutely furious a man in that position thinks it’s OK to skirt the lines by using language like that”.
In partially upholding the complaint, the BBC’s ECU said: “Our editorial guidelines do not allow for journalists to then give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so. Those judgments are for the audience to make.”