Politicians must clamp down on reporter abuse, says BBC chief

Posted On: 
14th September 2017

Politicians and social media companies must play their part in ending the “explicit and aggressive” abuse aimed at some BBC journalists, the broadcaster’s chair has said.

David Clementi called on social media firms and politicians to do more to stamp out abuse
Credit: 
PA Images

David Clementi said politicians must not “stand by and watch” in instances where reporters are subject to intimidation, either in a political setting or online.

He said some of it was “in plain sight, at press conferences and political gatherings on all sides” and that it was women who were most notably on the end of the abuse.

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In his speech at the Royal Television Society convention, Mr Clementi said: “Speaking to our journalists, I have become increasingly aware of the abuse that some of them – particularly female journalists – are subject to on an almost daily basis.”

“Politicians cannot stand by and watch – they must confront any abuse, and make it clear that it is intolerable,” he said.

“The journalists of the BBC, when abused simply for doing their job, should know they have the determined support of the board to stamp it out.”

The chair also called on social media firms to ramp up action against online trolls, while welcoming steps so far taken by the government.

“These days, there is much more abuse. It is increasingly explicit and aggressive, and much of it occurs online,” he said.

“I welcome the work the Government is doing to tackle this, and I’m following closely the efforts of Twitter and Facebook, amongst others, to clamp down on the perpetrators. I hope the social media platforms do even more.”