Emily Maitlis to deliver MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at Edinburgh TV Festival

Emily Maitlis said it is an “honour beyond belief” after it was announced that she will deliver the prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

The 51-year-old former Newsnight presenter is recognised as one of the most renowned journalists in Britain and has worked across multiple broadcasters including NBC Asia, TVB, Channel 4 and Sky.

She will discuss the “threat to reporting the news and holding power to account across the globe” during her keynote speech later this month.

It will be her first major address since joining media group Global after she left the BBC earlier this year, where she had to follow strict impartiality restrictions.

Emily Maitlis said she was 'honoured' to be invited to deliver the prestigious lecture in Edinburgh

The James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture has previously been delivered by a host of notable figures including actress and writer Michaela Coel, broadcaster Jon Snow, and fellow former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman.

Maitlis said: “The list of extraordinary people who have given this lecture before me makes this an honour beyond belief.

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“It is a massive privilege – but also a responsibility. To get this right. The need to hold power to account without fear or favour is more urgent than ever before.

“We are good at documenting censorship and intimidation of journalists around the world.

“But we are sometimes too slow to recognise how and when it is happening in more subtle ways, closer to home.

“In many places the political actors, their style of communication and their relationship with the truth has changed. Journalism needs to respond robustly to that challenge.”

Her flagship address at the festival will explore the “complex world of modern journalism where the threat to reporting the news and holding power to account across the globe, comes not just with intimidation and outright censorship, but in more nuanced ways with language and normalizing the extraordinary”.

Maitlis has worked across broadcast outlets throughout her career but she is probably best known for her time at the BBC.

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She joined the corporation in 2001 and presented Newsnight from 2006 until earlier this year when she announced her departure.

During her time there she won a Royal Television Society award for her interview with the Duke of York over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal in 2019.

She also previously hosted the BBC’s popular Americast podcast alongside Jon Sopel, who left the BBC with her so they could front a new podcast for Global Player, host a radio show together on LBC, and provide commentary and analysis for the station’s website.

In 2019, she published Airhead: The Imperfect Art Of Making News, which provided a behind-the-scenes look at some of her biggest news stories and interviews.

Executive chairwoman of the Edinburgh TV Festival Fatima Salaria said: “Emily Maitlis has delivered the news into our living rooms for over 20 years but could never be described as a newsreader.

“Sharper and edgier than was comfortable for her last employer, she is happiest when cracking open a story and not just reporting it.

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“Fans not just of her Prince Andrew encounter but Newsnight, Americast, and her best-selling book Airhead will want to hear her take on truth, power and impartiality in what promises to be a challenging and insightful MacTaggart.”

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