Section 1: The BBC's Editorial Values
BBC Charter and Agreement
The BBC's Editorial Values, and the Editorial Guidelines, are rooted in the Royal Charter and the Agreement.
The Royal Charter guarantees the editorial independence of the BBC and sets out its Public Purposes. These are defined as:
- sustaining citizenship and civil society
- promoting education and learning
- stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
- representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities
- bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
- in promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television.
The Agreement accompanying the BBC Charter specifies that we should do all we can "to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality" in our news and other output dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy. It also states that our output is forbidden from expressing the opinion of the BBC on current affairs or matters of public policy, other than broadcasting or the provision of online services. The Accuracy, Impartiality and Politics, Public Policy and Polls sections of the Editorial Guidelines incorporate the BBC Trust's code as required under Paragraph 44 (5) of the Agreement, giving guidance as to the rules to be observed in connection with Paragraphs 44(1) to 44(4) of the Agreement.
In addition, the Agreement forbids any BBC service funded by the licence fee or grant-in-aid from carrying advertising or sponsored programmes. To protect editorial integrity and independence, the BBC has drawn up its own guidelines on standards for advertising and sponsorship for its commercial television and online services.