Saturday 1 August 2020

Once more unto the breach of the BBC's editorial guidelines, dear friends

Fiona Lamdin

Just over a year ago the BBC director of news Fran Unsworth sent out a strongly-worded email telling staff they could face disciplinary action if they publicly criticised colleagues. 

With the rise of the new breed of opinionated, campaigning journalists at the Corporation that warning stands even less chance of being heeded now. 

Maybe she needs to carry through with her threat and set a few examples? 

The Telegraph today has a report about a white BBC reporter - social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin - using the 'n-word' in a piece broadcast on the BBC News Channel and Points West. The paper says she 'told viewers “Just to warn you, you’re about to hear highly offensive language” before immediately using the term'. 

As is its hedgehog-like way, the BBC initially stood by the report by arguing that (a) the family of the victim involved had asked for the n-word to be used and (b) that a warning had been given...but the pulled the report from its catch-up service nonetheless. 

Enter the BBC’s gender and identity correspondent, Megha Mohan, publicly criticising both her colleagues and her employer: 
By not saying the N-word, you send a clear signal that you will not normalise the most violent of language. It blows my mind that this is open for interpretation or being justified - especially this of all times. 
I suspect she'll escape unscathed though. Fran Unsworth would probably provoke a damaging mutiny among the newer, 'woker' ranks if she took her to task.

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