BBC boss Lord Hall overturns Naga Munchetty decision

BBC director-general Tony Hall has reviewed and reversed the Naga Munchetty ruling.

The BBC's Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) had ruled that the BBC Breakfast host breached editorial guidelines when she condemned comments made by Donald Trump after he told female Democrats to "go back" to their own countries.

However, Lord Hall said in an email to staff that he had personally reviewed the ruling.

"I don't think Naga's words were sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint around the comments she made," he said.

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Naga Munchetty attending the Virgin Media BAFTA TV awards, held at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Naga Munchetty and Sophie Rayworth attending the Virgin Media BAFTA TV awards, held at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Naga Munchetty, Aaron Fellowes, Louis Theroux and Sophie Rayworth in the press room during the Virgin Media BAFTA TV awards, held at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty
BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt (centre), Louis Minchin (left) and Naga Munchetty (right)
Naga Munchetty at The TRIC Awards (Television and Radio Industries Club Awards) at Grosvenor House, Park Lane (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Naga Munchetty attending the TRIC Awards 2019 50th Birthday Celebration held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING DATE Naga Munchetty (left) and an unidentified woman arriving at Chiltern Firehouse in London to celebrate Kylie Minogue's 50th birthday.
Naga Munchetty attending the BAFTA Craft Awards at the Brewery in London.
Naga Munchetty attending the TRIC Awards 50th Birthday held at The Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Picture Credit Should Read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
BBC Breakfast presenters Mike Bushell, Louise Minchin, Dan Walker, Naga Munchetty, Carol Kirkwood and Sally Nugent attending the National Television Awards 2017 held at the O2, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Naga Munchetty, Ben Thompson, Carol Kirkwood and Charlie Stayt attending the 2017 Television and Radio Industries Club Awards, Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.
Naga Munchetty attending The Pride of Britain Awards 2016, at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Naga Munchetty at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2016. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Naga Munchetty at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Picture date: Tuesday 30th August, 2016. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire.
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In a July 17 broadcast, Ms Munchetty had said that "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."

After being probed by her co-host Dan Walker for her thoughts, Ms Munchetty said she was "absolutely furious a man in that position thinks it's OK to skirt the lines by using language like that".

The ECU ruling sparked a backlash, with many expressing their outrage at the decision.

Sir Lenny Henry and Krishnan Guru-Murthy were among a group of black and Asian journalists and broadcasters who called for the BBC to reverse its ruling.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was also among those to comment, saying that Ms Munchetty "stated a fact", and urging the BBC to "explain this astonishing decision".

Lord Hall said in his email that the ruling had "sparked an important debate about racism and its interpretation".

He said: "Racism is racism and the BBC is not impartial on the topic.

"There was never a finding against Naga for what she said about the President's tweet."

He continued: "I have looked carefully at all the arguments that have been made and assessed all of the materials.

"I have also examined the complaint itself. It was only ever in a limited way that there was found to be a breach of our guidelines. These are often finely balanced and difficult judgements.

"But, 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."

He said Ms Munchetty was "an exceptional journalist and presenter", adding: "I am proud that she works for the BBC."

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