THE BBC has been forced to apologise after an on-screen graphic featured in one of its shows used an Irish tricolour to represent Northern Ireland.
The gaffe occurred on Friday’s edition of the BBC Breakfast show during a segment discussing the different COVID-19 travel restrictions in place across different parts of the United Kingdom.
Presenter Naga Munchetty later apologised for the error during the closing minutes of the show.
“We would like to apologise for a mistake we made earlier in the program,” she said.
“In a graphic sequence explaining the differing travel quarantine rules around the nations of the UK we mistakenly showed the wrong flag for Northern Ireland."
At 0811 a graphic was used by @BBCBreakfast wrongly representing NI with an RoI flag.
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley emailed the Director General & demanded an immediate apology.
The apology (below) at 0858 is welcome but disgraceful that it had to be highlighted. pic.twitter.com/z6H8odWdaC
— DUP (@duponline) September 4, 2020
The blunder nevertheless drew an angry response from DUP leader Arlene Foster, who branded the mistake “disgraceful” and called for a formal investigation into the matter.
In a series of tweets directed at incoming BBC director general Tim Davie, Foster called for action to be taken, noting that rival show Good Morning Britain, over on ITV, avoided the same kind of error.
"At least ITV’s @GMB were able to get the right flag for a similar graphic," Foster tweeted.
"@BBCBreakfast were right to apologise swiftly but the BBC DG needs to investigate the editorial process that allowed the inaccurate graphic to air. Very poor."
At least ITV’s @GMB were able to get the right flag for a similar graphic. @BBCBreakfast were right to apologise swiftly but the BBC DG needs to investigate the editorial process that allowed the inaccurate graphic to air. Very poor. https://t.co/bjF5ivnbKi pic.twitter.com/9MjlCgyRUB
— Arlene Foster DBE PC #ProudofNI. (@ArleneFosterUK) September 4, 2020
The DUP later confirmed that one of its MP’s, Ian Paisley Jr. from Antrim, had emailed the BBC to demand the immediate apology.