Emily Maitlis bias claims dismissed by BBC after Piers Morgan retweet

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·2-min read
Emily Maitlis is the host of BBC's 'Newsnight'. (Getty Images)
Emily Maitlis has now deleted the retweet from her timeline. (Getty Images)

Emily Maitlis is to escape further investigation by the BBC over accusations she showed political bias by retweeting a comment by Piers Morgan.

The BBC newsreader retweeted a post by the Good Morning Britain host criticising the government response to the coronavirus pandemic to her personal Twitter account, but has now deleted it from her timeline.

Maitlis, 50, had retweeted Morgan's comment: "If failing to quarantine properly is punishable by 10yrs in prison, what is the punishment for failing to properly protect the country from a pandemic?"

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As a BBC journalist, the Newsnight presenter is expected to demonstrate impartiality.

The BBC’s guidelines on social media state: “Sharing or retweeting material from other people is part of what social media is all about - but consider that it can give the appearance of endorsement by you or the BBC, so context might well be needed.

Piers Morgan has responded to Covidiot claims (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Emily Maitlis retweeted a comment by ITV presenter Piers Morgan. (Getty Images)

“A ‘retweets aren’t endorsements’ or equivalent disclaimer in your bio won’t be enough on its own.”

But a BBC spokesperson responding to Maitlis’s retweet told Yahoo UK: “We’re not about to start commenting on one retweet which was swiftly deleted.”

Last year the BBC ruled that Maitlis had breached BBC impartiality regulations with comments she made on Newsnight about Dominic Cummings’s breach of lockdown rules.

In an opening monologue on the current affairs programme back in May, the newsreader accused Boris Johnson of “blind loyalty” as she addressed the “deep national disquiet” caused by the then-government adviser’s actions.

Read more: BBC says Emily Maitlis's 'Newsnight' comments 'overstepped the mark'

The BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit ruled in September that the monologue did breach the corporation’s strict rules on impartiality and accuracy. However, it said no further action would be taken.

Emily Maitlis breached BBC impartiality rules last year with her comments about Dominic Cummings. (PA)
Emily Maitlis breached BBC impartiality rules last year with her comments about Dominic Cummings. (PA)

Maitlis's speech is now under investigation by Ofcom following further complaints from viewers.

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Director-general of the BBC, Tim Davie, said when he took on the role last September that he would take strong action against staff who breached BBC impartiality guidelines.

He said: “Enforcement actions will be very clear, we will be able to take disciplinary action, we’ll be able to take people off Twitter. I know people want to see hard action on this.”

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