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16 October 2014
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Editorial Guidelines in Full

Impartiality & Diversity of Opinion

Personal view, authored programmes & websites

We have a tradition of allowing a wide range of individuals, groups or organisations to offer a personal view or opinion, express a belief, or advance a contentious argument in our programmes or on our websites. Personal views can range from the outright expression of highly partial views by a campaigner, to the authored view of a specialist or professional including an academic, scientist, or BBC correspondent, to those expressed through contributions from our audiences. Each can add to the public understanding and debate, especially when they allow our audience to hear fresh and original perspectives on well known issues.

Content reflecting personal views, or authored by an individual, group or organisation, or contributed by our audiences, particularly when dealing with controversial subjects, should be clearly signposted to audiences in advance.

Personal view and authored programmes and websites have a valuable part to play in our output. However when covering controversial subjects dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy we should:

  • retain a respect for factual accuracy.
  • fairly represent opposing viewpoints when appropriate.
  • provide an opportunity to respond when appropriate for example in a pre-arranged discussion programme.
  • ensure that a sufficiently broad range of views and perspectives is included in output of a similar type and weight and in an appropriate time frame.

It is not normally appropriate for BBC staff or for regular BBC presenters or reporters associated with news or public policy related programmes to present personal view programmes on controversial subjects.

Online we may provide people with information and a place to meet and campaign on specific issues including matters of political or industrial controversy or matters relating to current public policy. However it is important that we observe the following:

  • the BBC cannot endorse or support any personal views or campaigns.
  • there should be a clear distinction between BBC content and content created by our users. It should also be clear what resources we are providing.
  • users should not campaign explicitly for or against political parties or candidates. This is particularly important in the period before an election (usually 25 working days before polling day).
  • the site should not be used to promote commercial campaigns or fundraising.
  • broadcast coverage of campaigns featured on a BBC site should treat these campaigns in exactly the same way as any other campaigns.
  • candidates in a forthcoming election must not contribute to the site.

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Section Four of the Editorial Guidelines - pdf

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