BBC BLOGS - The Editors

Archives for September 2010

Impartiality is in our genes

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Helen Boaden | 11:13 UK time, Saturday, 18 September 2010

I always think that impartiality is in our DNA - it's part of the BBC's genetic make-up.

Anyone who thinks differently doesn't really understand how the organisation works and how seriously we take issues around balance and impartiality.

That's why, for example, we've planned our coverage of the spending cuts so carefully - to make the choices facing the government clear to our audiences and ensuring we cover the "whys and wherefores" of the spending review. It's how we always approach our reporting - whatever the subject.

The licence fee is the public's money so people are clearly fully entitled to their opinion on our coverage. And if they want to criticise it, of course they can and indeed will do so. There was one such example in the Daily Mail yesterday. There'll always be people who express views about our coverage particularly at a sensitive time politically. That's part of the warp and weft of living in a democracy. Our job is to ensure we remain absolutely impartial and present the facts to our audiences - without following any agendas.

For the broad audience BBC News is as respected and as valued as it's ever been. At big significant news moments such as the General Election and for everyday news and analysis audiences turn to us in huge numbers to help them make sense of the world - both at home and abroad.

That's because our audiences trust us and our specialist journalists like Nick Robinson, Stephanie Flanders, Robert Peston, Hugh Pym and Mark Easton. When stories are complex, highly charged and politicised, audiences rely on our specialists to give them context, assess evidence and test opinions without fear or favour.

Our presenters take professional pride in holding the powerful to account through fair but tough questioning. All our journalists - on and off air - are acutely aware of their responsibility to be impartial. That's why, for example, we report the problems of the BBC as we would any other institution. And that's why our trust ratings remain so high. And in a healthy democracy our audiences would not want it any other way.

Helen Boaden is director of BBC News

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