Poppies and presenters
Jon Snow of Channel Four News has said on his blog that he has chosen not to wear a poppy on air, though he does wear one in his personal life. His view is that any symbol is a distraction. He's discovered, or perhaps he already knew, that it is a controversial viewpoint.
As far as the BBC is concerned, presenters or reporters appearing on television can wear poppies if they want to. There is no rule that tells them they must do so. It is a matter of individual choice. The BBC does give some guidance on when to wear them, so that we can have some sort of uniformity on screen, though there is some flexibility in that too. We suggest starting to wear poppies a couple of weeks before Remembrance Sunday. That's roughly when the Royal British Legion officially starts selling them. This year they started to do so on Saturday 28 October.
Buying and wearing poppies is an entirely voluntary act in society, and we don't believe it should be any different for newsreaders or presenters. There are some places in the UK - Northern Ireland, for example - where wearing a poppy has been a controversial thing to do. It may be difficult for some foreign correspondents. And it may be inappropriate for some activities. So it wouldn't be right for us to issue an all-encompassing directive to all of our reporters and presenters to wear poppies. People have different views about it and find themselves in different situations at home and abroad.
And there is no guarantee that every presenter or reporter who wants to wear one in this period will always be seen doing so. Some TV is made a long time before it is shown and often the participants don't know when the programme will be transmitted. Nor is there a guarantee that presenters won't wear them earlier than suggested . Politicians seem to acquire poppies very early, so on some news and current affairs programmes you may find the presenter doing so too.
I have been asked whether presenters might be pressured by editors to wear poppies before they go on air. This shouldn't happen. But as the controversy sparked by Jon Snow has shown, there is clearly the potential that not wearing one might cause some controversy. In my experience editors and producers usually point this out to presenters and make it clear they might have to answer complaints if they don't wear one. But that's not the same as applying pressure - that's simply a matter of pointing out the consequences of their actions