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Our Contributors' Charter

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 13:34 UK time, Friday, 27 October 2006

After a recent Saturday morning spent talking about the programme, we thought it would be useful to explain what you can expect when you decide to contribute to World Have Your Say.

Consider this a "Contributors Charter" - in other words the bargain between us, the "hosts" of the programme and you, the people who make it happen with your views and opinions. If you've still got questions after reading this, please feel free to email us.



We come in to the office in the morning and have a good look at your e-mails, blog postings and texts to see what you want to talk about. We also look at news sites, opinion sites and blogs. As soon as is possible (normally around 9 o'clock GMT) we put an early post up with a few of these thoughts and then ask you to respond.


Then at 11 o'clock GMT, we meet and decide what we think you want us to discuss. It's an imprecise science for obvious reasons but we can only go with what you tell us is important. You are welcome to join the meeting online or by telephone - this post will tell you how. Or you can just email us a story idea.


Following the meeting we do two things. We'll write an update on the blog, telling you which stories we're planning to cover on the programme. At least one those of those stories will also appear a debate on the Have Your Say part of bbcnews.com.

For the next few hours it's a chance for you to contact us if you'd like to contribute to our coverage of the stories and issues we've chosen. Some of you simply email or post a comment. Others who want to come on air leave your phone numbers or VOIP id. If you've asked to come on air, we will try and get in touch with you.

ON AIR - 1700 GMT

This is the time we never miss. Here on the blog, you can listen live to the programme, read everyone's comments as they come and in and contribute to the debate by posting, emailing, texting or calling. The show is an hour long and we can't promise that we'll read every comment we're sent. We do promise to do our very best to publish every comment you send here on the blog.


  • To get you on air as close to the time we specify as possible.
  • To deal with your opinions courteously and without needlessly cutting you short.
  • That if time constraints prevent us from hearing your comment, we will still contact you to explain why we've been unable to hear your views on that programme.


  • To make your point succinctly; there are many people who want to get on and have their say too.
  • To join the conversation and talk to others on the programme, whether you agree or disagree with them. You're just as welcome to ask them a question as the presenter is.
  • Please don't make "platform speeches". Not only are long comments an ineffective way for you to get your point across, but they alienate other listeners who want to hear a conversation. We’d much rather hear three short comments than one long one.

Please refer to the Editorial Guidelines for everything else we're signed up to do by being part of the BBC.


We've had complains that are presenters intervene too much, and that they don't do so enough. We may not always get it right, but this will explain the thinking behind when our presenters choose to speak up.

We want this programme to be as much about conversations between people around the world as possible. Consequently the role of the presenter is not that of the traditional news anchor around which the whole programme revolves. However our presenters (Anu, Ros and Rabiya) do of course have an important role to play.

They are there to encourage conversation, maintain accuracy in our description of the news and, when necessary, intervene when opinions being expressed are unacceptable. Though what exactly is unacceptable is again not perfectly defined. We certainly don't want the show to become, in the words of one listener, 'another forum for hate-mongers', but we also don't want to start censoring listeners so that only certain types of opinions are allowed to be expressed.

As programme makers, we believe passionately that the show is about giving listeners a window onto the world in all its diversity, allowing them to hear views that make them think, and perhaps on occasion question their own attitudes and opinions. We also recognise that one person's opinion is another's prejudice, that what we are doing is an inexact science, and that we will be unable to satisfy all our listeners all of the time. We hope that you'll keep listening, even if there are occasional opinions that you find troubling or offensive.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Mark, Anu, Rabiya, Peter, Fiona, Richard, Ros, Anna and David


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