A reporter for Britain’s public-funded broadcaster gave President Volodymyr Zelensky a hug during a press conference, in an apparent breach of the BBC’s impartiality code of conduct.
While visiting a military camp in Dorset with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Ukrainian President was greeted by Natalia Goncharova, an awestruck reporter from BBC Ukraine.
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When the BBC journalist was called upon to ask a question of the two leaders, Goncharova instead said she would really like to give Zelensky a hug.
Breitbart reports: In comments translated by Bloomberg, the BBC reporter said: “Greetings Mr President, I would really like to hug you, but I’m not allowed.”
“Why not? Please do give me a hug,” Zelesnky responded before embracing Goncharova.
While the exchange was hailed by the BBC itself as demonstrating the “human” touch of Zelensky, others questioned the state of journalistic ethics at the public broadcaster.
The BBC’s own impartiality guidelines state: “Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC – they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved. Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal opinions of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on ‘controversial subjects’ in any other area.
“They may provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence, but may not express personal views on such matters publicly, including in any BBC-branded output or on personal blogs and social media.”
The viral moment came after Mr Zelensky was received by the British Parliament in the historic Westminster Hall in London in which he thanked the UK government “in advance” for sending war planes to support the effort against Russia.