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Emily Maitlis reprimanded by BBC after sharing Piers Morgan tweet that criticised response to Covid

Emily Maitlis is back in the BBC’s bad books over anti-Tory Twitter jibe: Newsnight presenter gets reprimanded after sharing message by Piers Morgan that criticised response to Covid pandemic

  • Emily Maitlis breached impartiality rules by sharing Piers Morgan post in Feb
  • The BBC2 Newsnight presenter, 50, deleted the retweet within ten minutes
  • BBC’s editorial complaints unit upheld the case saying tweet was ‘controversial’

Emily Maitlis has been slapped down by the BBC after sharing a tweet by Piers Morgan which criticised the Government’s response to the pandemic.

In the latest case of Miss Maitlis being reprimanded by her bosses, she was told that she breached impartiality rules after retweeting the post.

Mr Morgan’s tweet asked: ‘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?’

Emily Maitlis (pictured) breached impartiality rules by re-sharing a tweet by Piers Morgan in February, which criticised the Government’s response to the pandemic

The BBC2 Newsnight presenter, 50, deleted the retweet within ten minutes of posting it in February, but not before someone complained to the BBC. 

The complaint argued that her retweet gave an impression of partiality in a controversial matter and was inconsistent with the position on social media use set out by director-general Tim Davie.

BBC guidelines say staff should ‘take particular care about maintaining our impartiality on social media’ in personal and professional activities.

It states ‘expressions of opinion on social media’ include ‘sharing or liking content’. 

The BBC’s editorial complaints unit upheld the case made against Miss Maitlis.

A statement said: ‘The retweeted material was clearly controversial, implying sharp criticism of the Government and there was nothing in the surrounding context to make clear that Ms Maitlis was not endorsing it.’ 

The BBC2 Newsnight presenter, 50, deleted the retweet within ten minutes - but not before someone complained to the BBC

The BBC2 Newsnight presenter, 50, deleted the retweet within ten minutes – but not before someone complained to the BBC

The BBC's editorial complaints unit upheld the case against Miss Maitlis, saying the retweeted material was 'clearly controversial'. Pictured: Emily Maitlis with Piers Morgan

The BBC’s editorial complaints unit upheld the case against Miss Maitlis, saying the retweeted material was ‘clearly controversial’. Pictured: Emily Maitlis with Piers Morgan

The reprimand is the latest for Miss Maitlis, who has been under fire for several jibes aimed at the Government over its handling of the pandemic.

She was embroiled in an impartiality row over a Newsnight monologue in May about Dominic Cummings’ hugely controversial trip to County Durham from London during lockdown.

The presenter said Boris Johnson’s former adviser ‘broke the rules,’ adding: ‘The country can see that and it’s shocked the Government cannot.’

Her tirade led to 20,000 complaints that she had shown bias. The BBC released a statement within 24 hours saying the programme had not met ‘standards of due impartiality’.

Mr Davie has prioritised tackling impartiality since he became director-general of the corporation in September last year by issuing guidelines to help ‘create a transformed, modern organisation’. 

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