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Presenter Emily Maitlis hits back at BBC over impartiality row

·2-min read
Emily Maitlis (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire)
Emily Maitlis (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire)

Emily Maitlis has hit back at the BBC after she was embroiled in an impartiality row over Dominic Cummings.

The BBC said the presenter broke the rules when she opened Newsnight with a monologue about Mr Cummings’ breaking lockdown last year.

The broadcaster was quick to issue a statement saying that the introduction “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”.

Speaking to trade publication Press Gazette, Ms Maitlis questioned why the BBC were so quick to issue an apology when it took them decades to investigate Martin Bashir for his Princess Diana interview.

An independent inquiry into Mr Bashir’s behaviour found that the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” by the journalist after he mocked up fake bank documents in order to secure the interview.

Asked if she regretted the monologue about Mr Cummings, Miss Maitlis said: “No, I don’t. It hasn’t ever been explained to me what was journalistically inaccurate about that.

“The call from Downing Street came in, and within a four-hour window an apology was given.

“I think, whilst you always welcome critical friends or constructive criticism, one of the oldest journalistic questions is: Cui bono? Who stands to gain?

“And I think one of the most important things we can do is say, ‘Where are those accusations coming from?”

Ms Maitlis said she had no interest in appealing the BBC’s ruling because she knows “what the audiences felt.”

But Ms Maitlis could face a further telling off with her employer after her comments to Press Gazette.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Nothing is more important than our impartiality. All BBC journalists must abide by the BBC’s editorial guidelines and social media rules. There are no exceptions. We will be taking this up with Emily.”

On the suggestion the BBC issued statement in response to Downing Street pressure: “This is false. Decisions about the BBC’s editorial standards are made by the BBC.”

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