Tribal Peoples, Reporting and Portrayal
In this article
Last updated: September 2012
Editorial Guidelines Issues
This guidance note should be considered in conjunction with the following Editorial Guidelines:
- Fairness and Consent
See Editorial Guidelines Section 6 Fairness: Introduction
Editorial Guidelines Section 6 Fairness: Contributors and Informed Consent
Editorial Guidelines Section 6 Fairness: Access Agreements
See Editorial Guidelines Section 3 Accuracy: Avoiding Misleading Audiences
- Hostile Environments, High Risk Activities and Events
See Editorial Guidelines Section 11 War, Terror and Emergencies: Hostile Environments, High Risk Activities and Events
The Editorial Guidelines say that the BBC treats contributors honestly, openly and with respect. Our commitment to fairness is normally achieved by ensuring that people provide ‘informed consent’ before they participate. ‘Informed consent’ means that contributors should be possession of the knowledge that is necessary for a reasoned decision to take part.
Meeting these Guidelines can require particular care when filming and portraying tribal peoples. Filming indigenous tribes can significantly aid an understanding of how such communities exist, but when securing their consent to take part, we should bear in mind that they may have little of the understanding of the television process that usually informs a decision by our contributors to participate.
Like any minority, particularly one about which little is known, care is also required to achieve due accuracy and fairness in any portrayal of tribal peoples on screen. Our content might be the only way our audiences learn about the people in question, and so the portrayal may play a much greater role in determining public opinion and attitudes towards the tribe.