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16 October 2014
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Online Services Guidelines in Full

Editorial Responsibility

  • Introduction



Any output area placing material on a BBC publicly funded or commercial site should take editorial responsibility for all forms of online content including text pages at every stage of their existence. The same degree of editorial control is required for online content as for any programmes we produce. Increasingly we are placing audio and audiovisual material online. The same degree of editorial care is required as for radio and TV. This is particularly important for live material online.

There should be a clearly understood chain of editorial responsibility for online content in each output area and a suitable editorial figure should have oversight of every page. It is the responsibility of the relevant Director of each Division offering online content to ensure that they comply with these guidelines and the BBC Editorial Guidelines.

Director, New Media and Technology, has overall responsibility for the BBC's public service online sites and overall editorial control of BBC commercial online sites, though responsibility for commercial and business matters for these sites rests with BBC Worldwide.

For new launches and significant redesigns, formal sign-off by the Director of New Media and Technology may be required. There is an agreed process for the content Divisions to ensure that propositions meet BBC purposes, offer value for money, and undergo an analysis into their potential market impact.

Prior to launch, the Heads of New Media in the content Divisions are responsible for ensuring that sites and services meet the relevant standards and guidelines, though the Director, New Media retains the right to refuse publication where sites do not meet the necessary requirements. Post-launch, content remains the joint responsibility of the Director, New Media and the Divisional Director. In the case of News, the Director, BBC News will take lead responsibility for content. The Head of Editorial Affairs is the key contact in New Media working with the content Divisions to ensure that editorial and standards issues are resolved.

Further advice on any aspect of these guidelines can be obtained from Editorial Policy. Legal advice may be sought from Programme Legal Advice.

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