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BBC takes Newswatch off air during review of Covid-safe working conditions

Presenter Samira Ahmed said she is pushing for the programme to return soon.

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Samira Ahmed (Ian West/PA)

Samira Ahmed (Ian West/PA)

Samira Ahmed (Ian West/PA)

Samira Ahmed has confirmed the BBC has taken Newswatch off air for the next two weeks while the broadcaster reviews the working situation in its London headquarters.

The TV presenter, who hosts the programme about viewers’ opinions on the coverage of events by BBC News, said she hopes it will be back soon.

She wrote on Twitter: “I am very sorry to report that @newswatchbbc has been taken off air this wk & next while BBC News management review the Covid 19 safe working situation in New Broadcasting House.

“Editor John Neal and I very much pressing to return as soon as possible.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, BBC News streamlined services to ensure it was keeping news on air with reduced staff numbers.

“With the current lockdown and increased precautions we have simplified some output and delayed the return of some programming – we plan to bring these back to air as soon possible.

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“We have rigorous protocols in place to manage Covid-19 and the safety of our staff is paramount.”

The programme sees the editors and decision-makers address the opinions of viewers.

Last year a London employment tribunal found that Ahmed should have been paid the same as fellow presenter Jeremy Vine for their work on Newswatch and Points Of View respectively.

The BBC had argued that the pair were not doing similar work.

Ahmed and the BBC later reached a settlement.


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