Ofcom to address the BBC’s ‘lack of transparency’ in Naga Munchetty rulings

Ofcom will address the BBC's "lack of transparency as a matter of urgency" for failing to publish its reasoning for its initial decision over Naga Munchetty, and the Director-General's move to reverse it.

The BBC's executive complaints unit (ECU) last month ruled that BBC Breakfast presenter Munchetty breached editorial guidelines when she remarked on comments made by US president Donald Trump telling female Democrats to "go back" to where they came from.

The ruling was overturned last week by Lord Tony Hall following a large public backlash.

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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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However, Ofcom has said that, following its own assessment, the July 17 broadcast of BBC Breakfast was duly impartial in accordance with the Broadcasting Code, and that an investigation was not justifiable.

The media regulator said it has received 18 complaints, the majority of which related to the fact the ECU initially partially upheld a complaint against Munchetty.

Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom's group director for content and media policy, said: "Due impartiality rules are vital for maintaining high levels of trust in broadcast news.

"We took into account the format of the BBC Breakfast programme and the nature of the presenters' exchange. Our assessment is that it would not breach our broadcasting rules and does not warrant investigation."

Mr Bakhurst added: "More widely, we have serious concerns around the transparency of the BBC's complaints process, which must command the confidence of the public.

"We'll be requiring the BBC to be more transparent about its processes and compliance findings as a matter of urgency."

Ofcom said that the exchange between Munchetty and her co-host Dan Walker was not considered to have breached due impartiality rules.

The watchdog has published correspondence between the BBC and itself following what they said was a "lack of transparency" from the broadcaster.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We note Ofcom's finding and the fact they agree with the Director-General's decision."

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