Newsnight, BBC Two, 3 June 2020

Summary of complaint

We received complaints from viewers who felt Emily Maitlis was biased against the government when discussing the number of deaths in the UK relating to COVID-19.


Our response

That day, the UK had the second highest number of recorded deaths in the world as captured by the World Health Organisation. This figure was undisputed and it was reported as such across different media outlets. During Prime Minister’s Questions the Prime Minister remarked that he was proud of his government’s record.

The edition of Newsnight broadcast later that evening explored the government’s response and the further measures necessary to deal with this unprecedented situation.

Questions have been raised over aspects of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak so far, for example the communication strategy, the timing of measures put in place to protect public health, and whether NHS workers are adequately protected.  It was legitimate for Emily to address these issues with our guests.

Newsnight will continue to give extensive coverage to this rapidly developing story over the coming weeks, and scrutinise its many implications, reflecting opinion from scientific and medical experts, and across the political spectrum.