Emily Maitlis has been reprimanded by the BBC after the broadcaster ruled she had breached impartiality rules by sharing a “controversial” Piers Morgan tweet.
In February Maitlis used her personal Twitter account to retweet a post by the former Good Morning Britain host that read: “If failing to quarantine properly is punishable by 10yrs in prison, what is the punishment for failing to properly protect the country from a pandemic?”
The Newsnight presenter deleted the tweet within 10 minutes, but a member of the public complained it gave the impression of partiality in a controversial matter.
Following an investigation the BBC upheld the complaint, saying that deleting the tweet was insufficient to resolve the issue as Maitlis has failed to publicly acknowledge that it was out of keeping with the organisation’s editorial standards.
‘The retweeted material was clearly controversial, implying sharp criticism of the government, and there was nothing in the surrounding context to make clear that Ms Maitlis was not endorsing it or to draw attention to alternative views,” the executive complaints unit concluded.
The findings were reported to the BBC News board and discussed with Maitlis.
It is the first ruling under new social media rules brought in by director general Tim Davie in October last year.
The sweeping reforms banned BBC stars from expressing personal opinions on public policy, politics or controversial subjects.
Presenters are also barred from “virtue signalling” and were warned about the use of emojis in their social media posts.
It is not the first time Maitlis, who won acclaim for her explosive interview with Prince Andrew last year, has clashed with BBC bosses.
The presenter faced criticism over a Newsnight introduction last year in which she said Dominic Cummings had broken Covid rules by driving to Barnard Castle, adding: “The country can see that and it’s shocked the government cannot.”
The BBC said the comments did not meet the required standards of due impartiality.