The BBC’s director of news has defended the corporation’s impartiality and criticised the abuse directed at a former UK Huffpost editor and experienced broadcast journalist who has just been appointed to a senior editorial post.
The corporation announced the appointment of Jess Brammar, who will run the corporation’s rolling news channels, despite the attempts of a board member with ties to Downing Street to block the move on political grounds.
The journalist, who had also worked as acting editor of Newsnight, had also faced months of attacks in Conservative media outlets after she emerged as the leading candidate for the role.
Her appointment as executive editor, BBC news channels, comes despite a highly-unusual intervention by Sir Robbie Gibb, a former director of communications to Theresa May who was appointed to the BBC Board by the government earlier this year. In a leaked text message obtained by the Financial Times, Gibb said in June the BBC “cannot make this appointment” if they want to retain the support of the government.
In an email to BBC staff on Wednesday, Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, wrote that the appointment had been made “through fair and open competition” and added that she wanted to address some points. She went on:
In view of recent public speculation about BBC News appointments.
BBC News has to be impartial and independent. BBC journalists are hired from a variety of different backgrounds, but while working at the BBC, they leave any personal opinions at the door.
Any individual should be judged on how they do their job at the BBC, not on what they have done in different organisations with very different objectives.
It is extremely disappointing that anyone should receive public and personal criticism – or online abuse – simply for applying for a job at the BBC.
The key point in the reaction to the appointment of Dominic Raab to the justice brief from Derek Sweeting QC, chair of the Bar Council, lies in the last sentence, in which he calls for someone to make the position their own. He points out that Raab is the eighth lord chancellor in 10 turbulent years for the justice system.
Robert Buckland MP QC has been lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice at a time when the justice system has faced unprecedented challenges. The Bar Council has worked closely with him and the Ministry of Justice during his time in office. We are grateful for his willingness, as a former practising barrister, to work collaboratively and listen to the legal professions. We wish him well and look forward to working with his successor Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, also a qualified lawyer. As we welcome the eighth justice secretary in the last 10 years to play this vital role, the need for a consistent and strong voice in government for our justice system could not be greater.
at 11.40am EDT