“WHAT’S THE POINT IN OFCOM?” many are now asking of the partly tax-funded organisation, after it announced this week that it would not be taking any action over the controversial anti-Cummings Newsnight introduction.
Covering the media frenzy around VoteLeave mastermind Dominic Cummings’ alleged breaking of lockdown rules, Emily Maitlis began by saying “the country can see” the prime minister’s then aide had “broken the rules” by driving 260 miles during lockdown.
The BBC later admitted that this “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”.
Yet despite this admission, Ofcom has now announced that they find Maitlis’s monologue “could be perceived” as her personal view, but that it would not take any action.
After the BBC Two news programme was broadcast on 26 May, the BBC received more than 23,000 complaints that Maitlis’s introduction was biased against Boris Johnson’s most senior advisor, who had travelled to County Durham from London.
A spokesperson for the watchdog said: “We consider the programme’s opening monologue could be perceived as Ms Maitlis’s personal view on a matter of major political controversy.
“But, having assessed the programme as a whole, we also found that a range of different viewpoints were given appropriate weight, including those of the UK government.
“Given this, and taking into account the BBC’s acceptance under its own complaints processes that it fell short of its editorial guidelines, we won’t be taking further action.
“We have, however, reminded the BBC that when preparing programme introductions in news programmes, to capture viewers’ attention – particularly in matters of major political controversy – presenters should ensure that they do not inadvertently give the impression of setting out personal opinions or views.”