Ofcom is officially accessing Emily Maitlis’s BBC Newsnight monologue.
The TV presenter sparked controversy in May with her summing up of Dominic Cummings’ lockdown row, where she stated the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser had ‘broken the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot’.
The BBC previously ruled that Emily’s comments, which racked up almost 24,000 complaints to the corporation, breached impartiality rules, and now the complaint is with the television watchdog ‘so subject to our decision making at the moment’, Dame Melanie Dawes, chief executive of the regulator, said.
Dame Dawes told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that Ofcom received the complaint from an individual not satisfied with the BBC process in the last couple of weeks.
The BBC said earlier this year that ‘we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.’
The Newsnight coverage centred on a trip by Mr Cummings from London to Durham during the lockdown.
Mr Cummings insisted he acted ‘reasonably and legally’.
At the time, BBC’s head of news, Fran Unsworth, argued Emily’s speech belonged ‘more on the op-ed page in a newspaper’.
‘Just because the majority of opinion is on side, and I absolutely accept they were, and that, as I say, was evidenced by the programme, it was the language with which the intro was phrased, which I felt basically belonged more on the op-ed page in a newspaper than it did as the intro to an impartial broadcast programme, she said.
Unsworth added: ‘I just want to say though that I think that Newsnight has had an absolutely brilliant journalistic run over this pandemic, and have really been on the stories.’