Media watchdog Ofcom has said it has “serious concerns around the transparency of the BBC’s complaints process” following its handling of the Naga Munchetty case.
The BBC‘s director general Lord Hall recently reversed a decision to partially uphold a complaint against the BBC Breakfast host for comments she made about US President Donald Trump.
Ofcom criticised the “lack of transparency” around the original ruling, which sparked a public outcry, and Lord Hall’s subsequent U-turn.
The regulator said it would not investigate complaints about Munchetty’s comments and the BBC‘s subsequent handling of the situation, but that it “will be addressing the BBC‘s lack of transparency as a matter of urgency”.
In response, a BBC spokesman said, “We note Ofcom’s finding and the fact they agree with the director-general’s decision.”
Naga Munchetty breached BBC guidelines by criticising President Donald Trump for perceived racism, the corporation’s complaints unit has ruled.
In July, the BBC presenter took issue with comments made by the US President after he told opponents to “go back” to the “places from which they came”.
The BBC said the Breakfast host was entitled to her own views but had gone “beyond what the guidelines allow for”.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on July 17 after Mr. Trump’s online remarks, Munchetty said, “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.
“Now I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.”
Her comments followed Mr. Trump posting several messages that made references to the Democrat politicians Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he wrote on Twitter on July 14.
The BBC journalist received praise online for her “off-script” moment.
A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation’s Executive Complaints Unit [ECU] had ruled that “while Ms. Munchetty was entitled to give a personal response to the phrase ‘go back to your own country’ as it was rooted in her own experience, overall her comments went beyond what the guidelines allow for”.