UK: IFJ backs criticisms by the NUJ of its handling of complaints against a high profile presenter

Emily Maitlis was replaced as host of the BBC's Newsnight programme after bosses reprimanded her over her introduction to the previous night's show in which she attacked the government’s handling of the breach of lockdown rules by a government advisor. 

Emily Maitlis

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "At a time of national crisis, frank and fearless journalism that scrutinises and holds this government to account is more necessary than ever. Emily Maitlis exemplifies those qualities - if she's been stood down and replaced as a result of her tenacious reporting, that is an act of shameful cowardice by our public service broadcaster. It is as clear as day that Dominic Cummings breached government lockdown guidelines - just because government ministers are prepared to demean themselves by asserting otherwise, to protect a seemingly untouchable Number 10 advisor, does not make it true. Journalists should be congratulated for holding policymakers to account for actions that risk a monumental breach of trust during a public health crisis. They should certainly not be castigated." 


Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said: "NUJ members across the corporation are outraged at the treatment of a respected colleague and a key face of the BBC. It is wholly unacceptable for journalists to be pilloried on social media, and let down by their employer, for doing their jobs whilst scrutinising decision-making and holding the government to account."

The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "The IFJ stands in solidarity with Emily Maitlis and all BBC workers. We believe that public service journalism that holds power into account is now more needed than ever. Replacing a journalist for doing so is unnaceptable".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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