What is the BBC’s impartiality policy and does it apply to Gary Lineker?
Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker has been asked to step down from his hosting duties on the BBC show after being embroiled in a dispute over impartiality.
However, a former BBC executive said there was “a lot of confusion” over whether the company’s policies should apply to Lineker – who works as a freelance broadcaster.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the BBC’s impartiality rules:
– What are the BBC guidelines?
The BBC says it is “committed” to achieving due impartiality in all its findings, describing it as “fundamental to our reputation, values and audience confidence”.
The company’s policies state that impartiality “must be fair and reasonable to the issue, taking into account the subject matter and nature of the content, the likely expectation of the audience, and any signage that may affect that expectation.”
It adds that the BBC’s edition must always “challenge arguments, challenge consensus and hold power accountable”, both consistently and with due impartiality.
Richard Sambrook, former BBC news director and director of BBC Global News and BBC World Service, told the PA news agency that “impartiality is essential” for the BBC and its staff in “everything they do”.
– What is the BBC’s policy on social media?
The BBC’s guidelines note that social media is “now part of everyday life” and that all staff are free “to engage in social media activity if they so choose”.
However, they state that similar to official platforms, all activities “whether in a ‘professional’ or ‘personal’ capacity” should be subject to editorial guidelines.
A “clear distinction” should be made between BBC Rooms run by the BBC for BBC purposes and Personal Rooms run by staff or BBC talent for their personal purposes, the guidance said.
– What did Lineker do?
Lineker was rebuked by the BBC after he responded on Twitter to a Home Office video showing Home Secretary Suella Braverman revealing the Government’s plans to stop migrants from crossing the Channel on small boats.
The ex-England striker wrote: “There isn’t a huge influx. We take in far fewer refugees than other large European countries.
“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy aimed at the weakest, in language not unlike that of Germany in the 1930s.”
The BBC said it had decided Lineker would step down from his hosting duties at MOTD until they had “an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”.
– Do the BBC guidelines apply to linekers?
Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC, not a permanent staff member and not responsible for news or political content, so doesn’t have to abide by the same rules of impartiality.
His Twitter remarks were made on his personal account, which does not include an official link to the BBC or MOTD in his bio.
However, the BBC guidelines also indicate that people who are “uniquely identified with the BBC” are expected to behave appropriately and “in a manner consistent with the BBC’s editorial values and policies”.
Mr Sambrook told the PA: “For a sports presenter in his private life, it’s not as serious about expressing views that aren’t impartial as it is for a news journalist.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/bbc-gary-lineker-twitter-suella-braverman-home-office-b2298602.html What is the BBC’s impartiality policy and does it apply to Gary Lineker?