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16 October 2014
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Editorial Guidelines in Full

Politics & Public Policy

Broadcasting during elections

Our commitment to impartiality and fairness is under intense scrutiny when we report election campaigns. All political parties will seek to influence editorial decisions. Content producers should take all complaints seriously and be aware that anything they say may be construed as "BBC policy". We should explain that general complaints or allegations of bias must always be dealt with at a higher level, and refer them accordingly.

We should make, and be able to defend, our editorial decisions on the basis that they are reasonable and carefully and impartially reached. To achieve this we must ensure that:

  • news judgements continue to drive editorial decision-making in news based programmes.
  • news judgements at election time are made within a framework of democratic debate which ensures that due weight is given to hearing the views and examining and challenging the policies of all parties. Significant minor parties should also receive some network coverage during the campaign.
  • they are aware of the different political structures in the four nations of the United Kingdom and that they are reflected in the election coverage of each nation. Programmes shown across the UK should also take this into account.

The way in which due accuracy and impartiality is achieved between parties will vary. It may be done in a single item, a single programme, a series of programmes or over the course of the campaign as a whole. But content producers must take responsibility for achieving due accuracy and impartiality in their own output and not rely on other BBC services to redress any imbalance for them.

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Section Ten of the Editorial Guidelines - pdf



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