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”.
Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s director for content and media policy, said Munchetty’s exchange in July with co-host Dan Walker “would not breach our broadcasting rules and does not warrant investigation”.
But he 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.”
In response, a BBC spokesman said: “We note Ofcom’s finding and the fact they agree with the director-general’s decision.”
Ofcom received 18 complaints, mostly about the BBC Executive Complaints Unit’s original decision, which said Munchetty was wrong to criticise Mr Trump’s motives after he said four female politicians should “go back” to “places from which they came”.