Emily Maitlis monologue row being assessed by Ofcom
The TV broadcasting watchdog is looking into the Emily Maitlis monologue row.
The BBC previously ruled that the presenter’s comments, on Newsnight, about Dominic Cummings, breached impartiality rules.
The complaint is now with Ofcom “so subject to our decision making at the moment”, Dame Melanie Dawes, chief executive of the regulator, said.
Ofcom received the complaint, from an individual not satisfied with the BBC process, in the last couple of weeks, she told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
The BBC said earlier this year that “we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality”.
In her introduction, Maitlis said Mr Cummings, then Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, had “broken the rules” and “the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot”.
The Newsnight coverage centred on a trip by Mr Cummings from London to Durham during the lockdown.
Mr Cummings insisted he acted “reasonably and legally”.
MPs also complained, at the committee hearing into public service broadcasting, that Ofcom is “completely powerless” over streaming giant Netflix despite its “increasingly important role”.
Committee chairman Julian Knight said that “effectively Netflix (which is based in the Netherlands) is not regulated at all within the UK and you have to hope they will be good citizens.”
He accused the streaming giant of using “Holland as almost a flag of convenience in order to escape the type of regulations we have within the UK”.
The Ofcom chief also said she wanted the BBC to improve the way it covered trans issues, so that it did not cause offence.
“It’s something we’ve been talking to (campaigning organisation) Stonewall about,” she said.
“Can broadcasters (bring balance) in an appropriate way?…”
She denied she wanted to push out views from people like JK Rowling, saying: “It’s about making sure we give the right information to our broadcasters so they can steer their way through the debate without causing offence or bringing inappropriate questions to the table”.