Belfast Telegraph

Naga Munchetty tight-lipped over race row on return to BBC Breakfast

The presenter declined to comment on her breach of BBC impartiality guidelines, a ruling which was reversed by director-general Lord Tony Hall.

Naga Munchetty after hosting BBC Breakfast for the first time since she was at the centre of an impartiality row over her criticism of Donald Trump (Peter Byrne/PA)
Naga Munchetty after hosting BBC Breakfast for the first time since she was at the centre of an impartiality row over her criticism of Donald Trump (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Naga Munchetty breezed through her BBC Breakfast return without reference to the furore over her comments on Donald Trump.

On her first day back on the sofa since the controversy, the presenter declined to comment on her breach of BBC impartiality guidelines, a ruling which was reversed by director-general Lord Tony Hall following a public backlash against the broadcaster.

She was found in breach following a complaint against her for offering a personal view on the US president demanding that a group of rival politicians “go back” to their own countries.

Ms Munchetty was driven in a black Audi to within inches of the studio door at MediaCityUK in Salford to present the morning show, rushing in with security and remaining silent when asked about her treatment by the corporation.

The presenter and her colleague Charlie Stayt, who also declined to comment on his way to work, made no reference to the recent controversy in their coverage.

After the show, which featured a bulletin about President Trump, Ms Munchetty’s car was driven to the door and she stayed silent when asked about the BBC learning from the incident or whether she felt supported by her employer.

BBC Breakfast coverage touched on Mr Trump without comment from either presenter.

The golden toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace received the most personal reflection.

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Naga Munchetty did not comment on the issue (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Munchetty said of the heist story: “I have so many questions.

“I would imagine a golden toilet is heavy. I wonder how joyful it is going to the loo on a golden toilet.”

The presenting pair also covered the collapse of Thomas Cook, Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit proposal, and women’s pensions.

The presenter was full of praise for the gold medal-winning sprint by Dina Asher-Smith, calling it a “celebration”.

Ms Munchetty firmly interviewed Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.

She also interviewed Sophie Dahl, the granddaughter of Roald Dahl, who is following her illustrious relative into children’s fiction, and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Her mic cut out at one point, leaving her without sound during a series of bulletins, but the show went on without any other blips, and ended with a poetry lesson from Gyles Brandreth.

Lord Hall overruled the complaint against Ms Munchetty on Monday following intense criticism of the BBC from the public and several prominent black and Asian journalists and broadcasters, including Sir Lenny Henry and Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who called for the decision to be reversed.

The original complaint came from a July 17 broadcast where Ms Munchetty, answering a question posed by co-host Dan Walker, said that Mr Trump’s comments on his Democratic rivals were “embedded in racism”.

PA

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