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BBC receives more than 100 complaints over Northern Ireland flag gaffe


The BBC incorrectly used the tricolour to represent Northern Ireland

The BBC incorrectly used the tricolour to represent Northern Ireland

The BBC incorrectly used the tricolour to represent Northern Ireland

The BBC has received more than 100 complaints after using the wrong flag for Northern Ireland during its breakfast show, it has been reported.

Last week, presenter Naga Munchetty apologised on air over the gaffe, which happened during a segment explaining Covid travel restrictions across the UK regions.

While the correct flag was used for England, Scotland and Wales, the Republic of Ireland's tricolour was instead used for Northern Ireland.

The incident sparked criticism on social media, with some questioning the BBC's "lack of knowledge" on Northern Ireland.

It has now emerged that the broadcaster has received more than 100 complaints of the issue, according to Metro newspaper.

"We received complaints about the Ireland flag being incorrectly shown to represent Northern Ireland on BBC Breakfast," a spokesperson said.

"The incorrect flag shown in a graphic was human error and we apologised on-air for this mistake before the end of the programme."

At the end of last week's broadcast, Naga Munchetty apologised for the error.

"Now, just before we go we'd like to apologise for a mistake we made earlier in the programme," she said.

"In a graphic sequence explaining the differing travel quarantine rules around the nations of the UK we mistakenly showed the wrong flag for Northern Ireland."

Following the gaffe last week, First Minister Arlene Foster called for the new BBC Director General Tim Davie to launched an investigation into how the error happened.

"At least ITV’s [Good Morning Britain] were able to get the right flag for a similar graph," she tweeted, alongside a screengrab from a similar report on the quarantine differences and which used the Ulster Banner to represent NI.

"BBC Breakfast were right to apologise, but the BBC [Director General] needs to investigate the editorial process that allowed the inaccurate graphic to air. Very poor," the DUP leader said.

Former Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast Daniel Baker, referencing Liam Gallagher tweeting in Irish earlier that morning, also took to Twitter to address the issue.

"Oasis use contentious language, BBC show the wrong flag, great start to the weekend. If Carlsberg done [sic] Friday mornings," he said.

The official flag for Northern Ireland is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, as the Ulster Banner was used by the Northern Ireland government from 1953 until it was abolished a few years following the outbreak of the Troubles in 1972.

Flags have long been a source of contention in Northern Ireland, with Belfast City Council's 2012 decision to stop flying the Union Flag daily at City Hall sparking rioting and months of protests.

A body set up to examine the issue, the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Expression, formed in 2016, has submitted a reported to the Executive Office, however its findings have not yet been made public.

Belfast Telegraph