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BBC News presenter Maryam Moshiri apologises for giving middle finger on air

BBC News presenter Maryam Moshiri has apologised for giving the middle finger live on air and said she is sorry if she “offended or upset anyone”.

In footage from a BBC news bulletin on Wednesday, the chief presenter can be seen raising her middle finger to the camera just as the broadcast begins.

In the clip, Moshiri says “live from London, this is BBC News” before talking about the latest updates in Boris Johnson’s evidence to the Covid inquiry.

The moment has been shared across social media platforms, and on Thursday morning Moshiri issued an apology, saying she was having a “private joke with the team”.

Posting to X, formerly Twitter, she said: “Hey everyone, yesterday just before the top of the hour I was joking around a bit with the team in the gallery.

“I was pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0.. including the fingers to show the number. So from 10 fingers held up to one.

“When we got to 1 I turned finger around as a joke and did not realise that this would be caught on camera.

“It was a private joke with the team and I’m so sorry it went out on air! It was not my intention for this to happen and I’m sorry if I offended or upset anyone. I wasn’t ‘flipping the bird’ at viewers or even a person really.

“It was a silly joke that was meant for a small number of my mates.”

It comes as the Government said it is launching a review of the BBC’s funding model.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer told MPs: “The review will look at how we can ensure the funding model is fair to the public, sustainable for the long term and supports the BBC’s vital role in growing our creative industries.”

Ms Frazer said the corporation’s licence fee will rise from £159 to £169.50 next year.

Her party referenced the newsreader’s gesture on X, formerly Twitter, amid controversy surrounding the Government’s Rwanda policy.

A post from the Conservatives said: “Labour when you ask for their plans to tackle illegal migration.”

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the Tory immigration policy as a “gimmick” that gives Rwanda “hundreds of millions of pounds for nothing in return”.

Moshiri has spent more than 20 years at the BBC and became chief presenter four years ago.

In July, the broadcaster said Moshiri would be taking over the BBC News channel’s The Daily Global programme.

The BBC has been approached for comment.