An attack on a BBC journalist in Brighton moments before she went on air yesterday has been reported to the police, who are investigating.
BBC South East political editor Lauren Moss (pictured) said she was “shaken up” by the experience, which she shared on Twitter. It comes amid increased hostility towards the media of late.
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Moss said: “A member of the public threw a cup of hot chocolate at me and screamed abuse about how he hates the BBC, literally moments before I went on air for BBC South East this lunchtime.”
Police said the incident took place at about 1.30pm at Royal Pavilion Gardens in the East Sussex seaside town and that enquiries were ongoing.
The journalist said she had a lucky escape as the drink missed her face and hit her coat instead. “Luckily I wasn’t hurt, nor was the cameraman, but I was shaken up and it could’ve been worse,” she said.
Journalists and politicians were quick to share their support for Moss on social media. Some appeared to blame the Government’s move on the corporation as it looks to scrap the licence-fee funding model.
BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen said: “Blame those who are inciting hostility to media and particularly the BBC.”
Shadow Culture Secretary Tracy Brabin said: “I hope you’re ok. No one should be abused doing their job. We must challenge any narrative – wherever it comes from – that the BBC is some sort of enemy within.”
BBC journalist and media analyst Alistair Coleman added: “I’ve spent a media news career documenting assaults on journalists around the globe, and it brings despair to see it happening in this country.”
Moss said she believed it was important to raise the incident and discuss it “as a wider issue and concern for all journalists”.
She added: “Someone may not approve of my work or who I work for but I am a journalist just doing my job. Anti-media feeling like this is very concerning for anyone in the industry.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our staff. This has been reported to the police.”
Sussex police urged anyone who witnessed the incident to report it online or call 101 quoting serial 76 of 20/02.