Section 10: Politics, Public Policy and Polls
Party Political, Election and Referendum Broadcasts
We are obliged by the Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter to make airtime available for party and referendum campaign broadcasts. Party broadcasts are quite separate from our own journalism and their transmission does not imply BBC support for the views contained in them. Allocation of a series of broadcasts to different parties is assumed to fulfil the requirement for due impartiality.
The copyright of party broadcasts resides with the parties but extracts may be used without the consent of the political parties.
Parties make the broadcasts at their own expense and are responsible for their content. However, they do have to ensure they are compliant for broadcast and abide by rules laid down by the BBC and Ofcom. These include an obligation to observe the law (for example on libel, copyright and incitement to racial hatred and violence) and the BBC Editorial Guidelines on harm and offence. Guidelines for the broadcasts are available on the Broadcasters Liaison Group website.
In exceptional circumstances, such as a decision to go to war, the BBC may be required to provide time for a broadcast by the Prime Minister or relevant senior minister. In such circumstances, it is also necessary to consider requests from the leaders of the main opposition parties for a reply. The BBC, as broadcaster, has the final say on the broadcast's acceptability in terms of its compliance with appropriate legal and other standards.
Any request for a ministerial broadcast or a reply to a ministerial broadcast must be referred promptly to Chief Adviser Politics.