Published: 15 June 2022
Cllr Liza Begum was awarded damages in a libel case against the BBC on 14 June 2022.
Cllr Liza Begum, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Housing Services, said:
“It is right that the BBC has publicly apologised for the mistake they made in their report. It is already harder to be heard as a woman of colour and we are often underestimated. When you speak up, people’s attitudes seem to change, and this must be challenged.
“I hope that the BBC will now implement processes to ensure mistakes such as this do not happen again and improve diversity within the organisation. It’s time the diversity of our communities is reflected in our country’s media and workplaces generally.
I now look forward to focusing on my new brief as Cabinet Member of Housing Services at Westminster Council. I will be committed to improving the conditions of our social homes, providing more homes for our residents, and ensuring we continue to promote social justice and tackle inequality in Westminster.”
Cllr Adam Hug, Westminster City Council Leader, said:
“Whilst everyone should welcome today’s public apology from the BBC, it’s important to reflect on the effect this serious error has had on a dedicated colleague and local campaigner as well as the wider community.
“Correcting the record in this case is vital as the false reporting gave a damaging impression about a talented local politician who truly cares about the people and community she serves. As the BBC’s apology noted, 'the misidentification caused particular distress because it seemed another example of the BBC, and the media generally, misidentifying BAME people, which fed into racist tropes. What was even more distressing is that the confusion was of two women of colour appearing at a Race and Faith event'.
“Liza is a trusted member of her community. She speaks out to improve the lives of people in our city and fought tirelessly for better housing services in Westminster. I’m delighted she is part of our new administration and I Iook forward to working with her as we build a fairer city for our residents and tackling inequality wherever we may find it.”