NUJ welcomes BBC's reversal on upholding Naga Munchetty complaint
1 October 2019
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
“The NUJ is pleased that Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general, has now reversed the decision of the corporation’s complaints unit over Naga Munchetty’s response to racist remarks made by President Donald Trump. The anger of NUJ members at the BBC was reflected in outrage from the wider public, MPs and particularly powerfully from black and ethnic minority journalists and others working in the creative industries.
“In a meeting with Tony Hall on Monday, which took place with the Federation of Entertainment unions, I made clear the blow this incident has dealt to our members. The director general’s priority now must be to rebuild trust amongst journalists and staff and the best way of doing that is to step up and prioritise the work taking place to increase the diversity of the workforce on and off camera. It is also necessary to review the Editorial Complaints Unit, its decision making and the diversity of its make-up.”
In an email to staff, Lord Hall said: “Many of you asked that I personally review the decision of the ECU. I have done so. In this instance, I don’t think Naga’s words were sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint around the comments she made. There was never any sanction against Naga and I hope this step makes that absolutely clear. She is an exceptional journalist and presenter and I am proud that she works for the BBC. I have asked the editorial and leadership teams to discuss how we manage live exchanges on air around these topics in the future. Our impartiality is fundamental to our journalism and is what our audiences expect of us.”
The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is now expected to get involved, a spokesman said: “We have recently received complaints relating to this programme and we are assessing the content against our own broadcasting rules.”