BBC News at Ten anchor Huw Edwards has admitted he fears using Twitter in case he falls foul of impartiality rules.
The broadcaster, 61, revealed his concerns over a potential social media backlash in the wake of the row over Gary Lineker’s tweets which likened the Government’s migrant crackdown to 1930s Germany.
Edwards, who is paid between £410,000 and £414,000, added that he felt working for the corporation made employees a target for criticism.
‘I have to be careful about what I say,’ he is quoted by the Daily Star newspaper as saying.
‘I can’t be in a position where I’m straying into something political. So I do far less on social media than I used to.
BBC News at Ten anchor Huw Edwards has admitted he fears using Twitter in case he falls foul of impartiality rules
BBC presenter Huw Edwards, 59, says ‘angry’ man told him to take his face mask off
The newsreader went on Twitter to tell everyone about what had happened on the train
‘I don’t go on social media unless I’m careful… and that includes what you like and what you might retweet.’
Previous controversies involving Huw Edwards
2019: He defends himself against accusations of political bias after he ‘liked’ a tweet saying ‘Vote Labour for the National Health Service.’
2020: He defends wearing a Welsh face mask on a train ‘to protect others and show respect to NHS staff’
2021: He is ordered to take down a tweet which joked about using a Welsh flag as the backdrop for the News At Ten
2022: He apologises for criticising a journalist for the apparent use of Welsh stereotypes
Edwards revealed a number of BBC stars have stepped back from social media over fears of ending up in hot water, having been at the centre of controversy himself at times in recent years.
In 2019, he defended himself against accusations of political bias after he ‘liked’ a tweet saying ‘Vote Labour for the National Health Service.’
He claimed he had not noticed the ‘vote Labour’ message, and was purely showing his support for the health service.
Two years later, Edwards was the subject of controversy when he joked that the Welsh flag would be the backdrop to the News at Ten – before taking it down ‘by order’.
His tweet came after colleague Naga Munchetty was ‘reminded of her responsibilities’ by the corporation for liking a series of anti-Tory tweets after she and co-host Charlie Stayt ridiculed a minister for having a Union flag and a portrait of the Queen in his office.
Despite social media users accusing the presenters of breaching BBC impartiality rules, £195,000-a-year presenter Miss Munchetty liked tweets praising her and Mr Stayt over the incident, further fuelling the row.
It then went a step further when Mr Edwards had his say, posting a picture of the Welsh national flag, with the caption: ‘Flags are now mandatory – very pleased with my new backdrop for @BBCNews at Ten’.
However, just hours later, he deleted the tweet and followed it up with a fresh message, suggesting corporation bosses had told him to remove it.
Alongside a picture of the BBC flag, he wrote: ‘Gutted. My pro-flag tweet has been cut down in its prime. By order. But it will be back tomorrow — by popular demand. Meanwhile enjoy this magnificent flag — one of my favourites.’
Huw Edwards’ tweets during the ‘flag row’ involving the corporation back in 2021
The broadcaster, 61, revealed his concerns over a potential social media backlash in the wake of the row over tweets by Gary Lineker (pictured), which likened the Government’s migrant crackdown to 1930s Germany
In another incident at the height of the Covid pandemic, he claimed he was accosted and asked to remove his Welsh face mask on a train because his fellow passenger was ‘offended’ by the dragons emblazoned across it.
The newsreader, who boxes in his free time, suggests he stood his ground and refused to remove the mask after the altercation.
He posted a photo of himself on social media immediately after the incident, frowning and still sporting the mask.
He wrote: ‘Angry man on the tube demands I take off mask. Turns out he was offended by the Welsh theme.
‘Anyway, I’m still going to wear a mask on public transport and indoor spaces – to protect others and show respect for NHS staff.’
Elsewhere, last year, the newsreader apologised and deleted a tweet which criticised an article in the Telegraph for the use of Welsh stereotypes which appeared in the first paragraph.
Admitting he only read the introduction because the site sits behind a paywall, he then removed his initial criticism and said he did not endorse the writer – who is also Welsh – receiving abuse on social media.
Huw Edwards, 61, raised a glass with his mother as he brushed off the redundancy letters
Then in April, Edwards laughed off the BBC sending redundancy letters to some of its most famous news presenters, dismissing it a ‘standard HR exercise’ as he raised a glass.
The veteran broadcaster signalled little concern over the message sent him, Reeta Chakrabarti, Clive Myrie and Sophie Raworth.
Ms Raworth showed her agreement with her colleague by retweeting the post.
Cash-strapped Corporation chiefs are trying to save costs by restructuring its news division and have has written to all its senior TV and radio presenters asking them to consider voluntary redundancy.
Their radio colleagues Nick Robinson and Justin Webb, who host the station’s flagship Today programme, have also received them.
Posting a picture of him sipping a drink with his mother Aerona Protheroe he declared online: ‘Reality check. A standard HR exercise by BBC News (one of many over the years) is just that.
‘A standard invitation to consider applying for voluntary redundancy. Nothing more. As my mam says, don’t believe everything in the papers.’
The voluntary redundancy letter is understood to have come from Philippa Busby, the interim managing editor of news and current affairs.
Edwards’ comments about social media come after Match of the Day star Lineker was sensationally taken off air in March after refusing to back down over his controversial tweets.
It sparked a major crisis for the BBC and a humiliating climbdown as Lineker agreed a deal which allowed him to tweet about refugees and climate change.