BBC accepts “mistake” in editing out laughter from Johnson video

The BBC has said that “a mistake on our part” was made after being criticised for editing a news bulletin in a way that removed laughter at Boris Johnson from an audience.

During the Question Time: Leaders Special programme on Friday evening, broadcast on BBC One, the Prime Minister was laughed at when asked about the importance of trust in politics.

But when a clip was included in a lunchtime news bulletin on Saturday, the laughter was cut out. The editing decision led to fierce criticism on social media, and accusations of bias.

“This clip from the BBC’s Question Time special, which was played out in full on the News at Ten on Friday evening and on other outlets, was shortened for timing reasons on Saturday’s lunchtime bulletin, to edit out a repetitious phrase from Boris Johnson,” the BBC said in a statement.

“However, in doing so we also edited out laughter from the audience. Although there was absolutely no intention to mislead, we accept this was a mistake on our part, as it didn’t reflect the full reaction to Boris Johnson’s answer.”

The fresh controversy follows an incident earlier this month that saw the BBC use old footage of Boris Johnson laying a Remembrance wreath instead of footage from 2019.

In the 2016 video, the Prime Minister looked more presentable, which is why the fault led to claims of partiality. The BBC apologised and said it was a production error.

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