BBC's Laura Kuenssberg under fire for tweet about father who confronted Boris Johnson

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Thursday 19 September 2019 07:15
news

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg is on the receiving end of controversy after she identified a father of a sick newborn baby who confronted Boris Johnson about the NHS in a viral video as a Labour activist.

Omar Salem criticised the prime minister of a “press opportunity” after he visited Whipps Cross University Hospital in London, where his seven-day-old daughter was admitted “gravely ill.”

In the video, which spread across social media like wildfire, Salem told Johnson:

There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there's not enough nurses, it's not well organised enough. The NHS has been destroyed...and now you come here for a press opportunity.

Later, on Twitter he explained: “Boris Johnson had the temerity to come to @WhippsCrossHops for a press opportunity on the children's ward that my 7-day old daughter is on, having been admitted to A&E yesterday gravely ill.”

Kuenssberg initially tweeted:

Not long after, she identified Omar as a “Labour activist.”

And posted a link to his Twitter profile.

This didn't go down well with some people online, who accused the BBC editor of targeting Salem.

Stewart McDonald, SNP MP was one of the first to condemn her.

Others wrote to Kuenssberg, asking her why it was relevant that Omar was a Labour activist, given that he had been in the hospital as a parent.

And others said Kuenssberg was “gaslighting” Omar.

And opening him up to targeted abuse.

Piers Morgan vehemently defended Laura's actions, calling her “superbly professional and impartial.”

Others argued that she was only doing her job.

Twitter users pointed out that Kuenssberg wasn't the only one to tweet Omar's profile, ITV's Paul Brand did too - yet she's the only one getting abuse for it.

The incident is dividing the Internet.

Once Salem's identity as a Labour activist came to light, he was met with a barrage of abuse online by Boris Johnson supporters.

In response, BBC released a statement defending its journalist:

Laura is a journalist who uses social media as part of her job. 

Like many others, Laura quote tweeted a thread by Omar Salem, who had written himself about his encounter with the PM on social media and describes himself as a labour activist. 

Any suggestion there was malicious intent behind her tweets are absurd. 

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