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Jess Brammar gets senior BBC job after impartiality row

IDBS ART GALLERY

Jess Brammar has been appointed to a senior role in BBC News, despite an impartiality row over her old tweets.

She was previously the editor of HuffPost UK and will now be in charge of the BBC’s domestic and international news channels.

It comes after weeks of back-and-forth, during which BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb was said to have objected to her appointment.

Some media outlets highlighted her now-deleted tweets criticising Brexit and the government.

Sir Robbie is said to have warned that hiring Brammar would enrage ministers at a time when the BBC is about to enter licencing negotiations to fund its operations.

However, her appointment was confirmed by BBC chairman Richard Sharp on Wednesday at the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention.

Brammar stated that she is “excited to get started on the job.”

 

‘Couldn’t be more thrilled’

The newly created position of executive editor will be in charge of the BBC News channel and its international counterpart, BBC World.

Brammar previously worked for the BBC’s Question Time and Newsnight, as well as ITN.

Her appointment, however, was marred by controversy for several weeks after it was revealed she had publicly criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson on social media.

In July, the Financial Times reported Sir Robbie had warned the BBC’s outgoing director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth, that the government’s “fragile trust in the BBC will be shattered” were Brammar to be appointed.

Sir Robbie, who previously worked as communications director to former prime minister Theresa May, was appointed to the BBC board in April.

Jacob Rees-Mogg agreed, commenting later that month that Brammar’s potential appointment “damages the whole perception of independence and impartiality at the BBC”.

He added: “They really do damage themselves”.

Brammar’s previous tweets included accusing the Prime Minister of lying in a television interview and comparing Brexit to the TV show Better Call Saul, “but less funny, interesting, or enjoyable.”

She criticised the Society of Editors’ response to Meghan Markle’s claims of racism in the British press earlier this year.

“I’m aware that I won’t be popular among my peers,” Brammar tweeted, “but I’m just going to stand up and say it: I don’t agree with [my industry body’s] statement that it is ‘untrue that sections of the UK press were bigoted.'”

 

‘Journalists leave personal opinions at the door’

In an email to staff on Wednesday, Unsworth confirmed Brammar’s appointment while addressing the recent controversy.

“Jess is an award-winning editor with extensive broadcasting experience,” she wrote.

In response to the recent controversy, she added: “BBC News must be objective and independent. BBC journalists come from a variety of backgrounds, but when they work for the BBC, they leave their personal opinions at the door.”

“Any individual should be judged based on how they do their job at the BBC, not on what they have done in other organisations with very different goals,” she added.

“It is extremely disappointing that anyone should face public and personal criticism, as well as online abuse, simply for applying for a job at the BBC.”

For the first time in several weeks, Brammar posted on Twitter, saying he “couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining such an incredibly talented team.”

SourceBBC
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