Monday 8 January 2018

A bright, new dawn?

A string of tweets this afternoon from Matthew Moore of the Times broke the news of the goings-on today at the BBC:
  • NEW: BBC staff told that anyone who has indicated support for Carrie Gracie, or tweeted an opinion about BBC pay, can no longer present any segments on BBC pay.
  • The directive, from new director of news Fran Unsworth, applies to off-air producers as well as on-air presenters.
  • Given that dozens (hundreds?) of BBC women and men have publicly backed Carrie Gracie, this threatens to turn into farce...
  • UPDATE: BBC says that staff have been reminded of existing guidelines that reporters who have expressed public views should not conduct interviews on that subject.
How fascinating! As the Guardian puts it, "the BBC has banned journalists who tweeted support for Carrie Gracie from presenting on-air segments about the gender pay row at the  editors at the BBC moved to enforce its editorial guidelines by stopping journalists reporting on the issue if they have supported Gracie or have been campaigning for pay equality":
A BBC spokesperson confirmed that editorial guidelines were being applied, saying: “Where a presenter or reporter has publicly expressed a view on a particular issue they would no longer be perceived as an impartial voice, therefore it is right they do not conduct interviews on that issue. This is in keeping with editorial guidelines.” 
The BBC’s guidelines include a segment about reporting on controversial subjects concerning the broadcast. They say the reporting “must remain duly impartial, as well as accurate and fair”. The guidelines add: “We need to ensure the BBC’s impartiality is not brought into question and presenters or reporters are not exposed to potential conflicts of interest.”
What an excellent decision! Let's hope this policy is now enforced across the BBC on other issues too (from Brexit to Trump, from transgenderism to abortion, etc).

If it is enforced, then here are going to be lots of BBC presenters suddenly disappearing from programmes and then returning ten minutes later and lots of BBC reporters no longer able to properly report on their own subjects!

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