BBC bias: Broadcaster receives record 500,000 complaints in just ONE YEAR

BBC Breakfast: Naga and Jon apologise for 'technical difficulties'

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The record number of complaints come amid concerns over the public service broadcaster’s “perceived bias”. In a 12 month period spanning 2020 and 2021, the BBC received a total of 462,255 complaints. According to the BBC’s own annual report that was published last week this was “an increase of 93,878” on the preceding 12 months.

When the data was broken down it was found that complaints about Emily Maitlis topped the list of subject matters.

The one incident that saw a high number of complaints was when Emily Maitlis delivered a monologue about Dominic Cummings on Newsnight in May 2020.

Ms Maitlis was describing Mr Cummings’ journey from London to Durham during the first national lockdown.

She claimed that the Prime Minister’s former adviser has “broke the rules”.

She added: “The country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot.”

Another incident that saw a high number of complaints was when BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty appeared to mock Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick about the size of the Union Jack in his office.

The presenter apologised after she liked a number of social media comments linked to the incident.

She wrote: “I ‘liked’ tweets today that were offensive in nature about the use of the British flag as a backdrop in a government interview this morning.

“I have since removed these ‘likes’.

“This does not represent the views of me or the BBC.

“I apologise for any offence taken.”

This one incident with Ms Munchetty attracted 6,498 complaints.


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Her speech later prompted 23,674 complaints and broadcasting watchdog Ofcom warned the BBC that hosts must not ‘inadvertently give the impression of setting out personal opinions’.

Chair of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines and Standards Committee Ian Hargreaves said: “The volume of complaints to the BBC remains a concern.

“This financial year has seen another sharp increase in the number of complaints received.”

However, the BBC’s annual report stated: “In the age of disinformation, echo chambers of opinion, and noisy partisan media outlets, a trusted, universal BBC has surely never been more important.”

But the report added: “Our research shows, however, that too many people perceive the BBC to be shaped by a particular perspective.

“This is not simply about the politics of left and right.

“We recognise that many feel the BBC does not get the world from their point of view.”

Television regulator Ofcom received 142,660 complaints in the 12 months spanning 2020 and 2021.

This was an increase from the previous year’s total of 34,545.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We’re a nation of TV lovers, and it’s kept us entertained and informed like never before during lockdown.

“But, from time to time, viewers see things that trouble them, and that’s where we come in.

“We assess every complaint we receive, and while we don’t step in lightly given the importance of free speech we take strong action where we find serious harm to audiences.”

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