Editorial Policy Newsletter - May 2013

Created on 23 May 2013

Welcome to the 2nd BBC Editorial Policy Newsletter of 2013

Please forward this newsletter to any anyone you think would find it useful or enjoyable and get them to sign up to receive future editions via email.


Revised Guidance for Investigations

If you're starting an Investigation take ten minutes to read this vital bit of guidance, even if  you're very familiar with the process. It’s been updated, (as mentioned in the last newsletter) and now covers what you should do with anything you find which ends up not being broadcast, for whatever reason.

The Guidance now says:

"Consideration should be given by the Editor / Executive Producer as to whether any evidence revealed in these circumstances should be made available to the police or to any other authority. Any intention to supply material* to the police or any other third party in these circumstances must be referred to the Director, Editorial Policy and to Editorial Legal / Programme Legal Advice.

*Material may include rushes and other evidence, eg documentation,  collected in the course of the investigation."

You can read the Guidance in full here.

Guidance for Referrals

And while we're on the subject of revised Guidance, we’ve added some more on referrals.

  • BBC Editors are editorially responsible for all the content they supervise.
  • All BBC content producers and Editors should expect to discuss editorial matters with more senior managers, as appropriate, and those senior managers should expect to engage in such discussion.
  • BBC Editors may, and sometimes must, formally refer matters to more senior managers or specialist teams within the BBC.  When such referrals are made, both parties should understand that a formal referral is being made, and a record kept unless there are good reasons not to.
  • There may also be circumstances, perhaps due to conflicts of interest, when it is appropriate to establish a separate, or second, chain of command; clarity and a formal record should be agreed.
  • BBC Editors should expect to be consulted by their content production teams, and must support their teams.

Read it in full here.

Think-tanks, Research Groups, Campaigners & Academics

Some of our best contributors come from think-tanks, Research Groups, Campaigners & Academics.   But if we don't put what they say in the right context, then our audience might  assume they’re utterly impartial – and sometimes they’re not.

You'd be right to think that there is an Editorial Guideline on this !

4.4.14 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities) are unbiased and we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint, if it is not apparent from their contribution or from the context in which their contribution is made.

Mention of all such organisations, therefore, should normally include some context to ensure that the audience clearly understands the relevant organisation’s point of view.

For most think-tanks there's a very helpful cut-out-and-keep guide on the Analysis and Research site:


It has suggestions (they’re just suggestions) for the best way to describe  many of these organisations.  Obviously it can't be an exhaustive list so it is important to think carefully about how you describe these kinds of contributors in our output. 



Making Programmes Work for People with Visual or Hearing Impairment

Recent audience research showed that nearly 60% of viewers had some difficulty hearing what was being said in programmes. According to a RNIB survey 91% of people with a sight problem say watching TV is important to them but three quarters of them  have difficulty following what's happening on screen. And while some people might take the time to complain, many will just switch over.

So think about our audiences  with hearing or visual impairments – there’s often something you can do which makes it easier for them to enjoy our content.  A bit of added intelligibility can work wonders, and we have some guidance notes to help you.

Guidance for Hearing Impaired Audiences

Guidance for Visually Impaired Audiences

New Editorial Guidelines For BBC Global News Services On External Relationships And Funding

BBC Global News runs television, radio and online services aimed at audiences outside the United Kingdom.

We increase the range and reach of our output with co-production and syndication deals, public value partnerships and co-funding arrangements, but they all carry risks to the BBC’s core values of impartiality, editorial integrity, and independence.  So in yet another set of new Guidelines, we set out some principles and practices for safeguarding what the BBC stands for.

You can read the new guidelines here:  The Editorial Guidelines For BBC Global News Services On External Relationships And Funding.

These guidelines cover all BBC Global News Services – The BBC World Service, BBC World News, and BBC Media Action.


Advertising and Sponsorship Guidelines for BBC Commercial Services.

If you're looking for guidelines covering advertising relationships for the BBC's Commercial Services then have a look at the aptly named  Advertising and Sponsorship Guidelines for BBC Commercial Services.

And Finally... Blobbing Number Plates

Watching the television, it sometimes seems anything with cars in has become a blob fest with blobs front and back instead of number plates.   From an Ed Pol point of view, you hardly ever need to obscure a number plate.   We think you should only be doing it when there’s a real risk to the owner or driver – for example, on cars belonging to police officers in Northern Ireland.  Please think before you blob. And ask us if you're not sure.

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