The BBC says it is reviewing its editorial guidelines after presenter David Dimbleby claimed the broadcaster has a policy not to depict the prophet - despite the BBC itself showing an image of Muhummad.
The 10pm BBC news programme on Thursday night showed a cover of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featuring the prophet Muhummad, as part of its coverage on the murder of 12 people at the magazine's offices and the manhunt for the suspects that followed.
Yet in the BBC current affairs programme Question Time - aired directly afterwards on BBC One - presenter David Dimbleby said that it was the corporation's policy not to show images of Muhammad in any form.
He quoted directly from BBC guidelines.
A tweet from the BBC Question Time account with a link to the guidelines appeared to confirm this:
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) January 8, 2015
The corporation now says it is reviewing these "outdated" guidelines which conflict with its belief that journalists and producers must be free to exercise their "own judgement" on what to show on television.
The BBC released a statement saying: “This guidance is old, out of date and does not reflect the BBC’s long-standing position that programme makers have freedom to exercise their editorial judgement with the Editorial Policy team available to provide advice around sensitive issues on a case by case basis.
"The guidance is currently being revised.”
A BBC spokesman added that the guidance "has not been the policy of the BBC for many years and our policy has not changed as a result of the discussion on Question Time".
Charlie Hebdo magazine was repeatedly targetted for using images of Muhammad in its satirical cartoons. Picturing the prophet is an act that many Muslims find offensive.
The magazine's offices - where the murders took place - were firebombed in 2011 after it published a 'Charia Hebdo' issue, in reference to Sharia law, for which it claimed Muhammad was the 'editor-in-chief'.