Naga Munchetty ‘broke BBC rules’ on social media but won’t face punishment

BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty has been found to have been 'in breach of BBC rules' after the journalist was caught liking tweets regarding BBC Breakfast's Union Jack feud – but she won't face punishment.

Earlier this year in March, Naga's BBC Breakfast co-host Charlie Stayt ruffled feathers on social media when he interviewed Robert Jenrick – the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government – and made a jibe about the size of the politician's Union Jack flag in the background.

You could then hear Naga, 46, laughing in the background during the interview and the TV host also took to Twitter to like several tweets about the incident.

However, she later apologised for liking the string of tweets "that were offensive in nature about the use of the British flag as a backdrop in a government interview this morning," explaining that she had since removed the likes.

In a formal statement published on the BBC website, the broadcasting body wrote that they had received 16 complaints from their viewers about the incident – who argued that Charlie and Naga's comments about the Union Jack and the portrait of The Queen in the background "showed an offensive lack of respect towards the monarch and the national flag".

The statement continued: "11 of them complained about subsequent social media activity by Ms Munchetty, in which she 'liked' a number of Twitter comments about the incident expressing views to which they took exception".

The BBC explained that it was "evident" that the comment made by Charlie about the politician's flag was "humorously intended" as there was "laughter audible in the studio".

And after the interview wrapped, when Naga flagged up the portrait of the Queen in Mr Jenrick's office, it's said that this "continued in a jocular vein".

According to the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit (ECU), the target of the humour was understood to be the "prevalence of patriotic symbols as a backdrop for ministerial interviews, not what those symbols represent".

Therefore the ECU concluded that "any offence on the part of the viewers arose from a misunderstanding of the presenters' intentions," so the complaints were not upheld in the end.

Although the ECU did note that Naga "liked" a number of tweets that were undermining the government's use of patriotic symbols "one of which used Strong language".

The ECU stated that her activity risked "giving the impression of endorsing one strand of opinion in a controversial area" which was "in breach of the BBC's standards of impartiality" regarding social media guidelines for BBC employees who work in factual programming.

However, as Munchetty removed her Twitter 'likes' before the complaints reached the BBC unit and apologised publicly on Twitter saying that the tweets she had liked "did not represent her own views or those of the BBC" the complaints have not been taken any further.

BBC Breakfast airs on weekdays at 6am on BBC One.

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