Guidelines

Section 1: The BBC's Editorial Values

Editorial Values

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1.2.1 Trust

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.  We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences. 

1.2.2 Truth and Accuracy

We seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our output.  Accuracy is not simply a matter of getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth.  Our output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, will be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language.  We will strive to be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation.

1.2.3 Impartiality

Impartiality lies at the core of the BBC's commitment to its audiences.  We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and will reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our output as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under-represented.  We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts. 

1.2.4 Editorial Integrity and Independence

The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity.  Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests. 

1.2.5 Harm and Offence

We aim to reflect the world as it is, including all aspects of the human experience and the realities of the natural world.  But we balance our right to broadcast innovative and challenging content with our responsibility to protect the vulnerable from harm and avoid unjustifiable offence.  We will be sensitive to, and keep in touch with, generally accepted standards as well as our audiences' expectations of our content, particularly in relation to the protection of children. 

1.2.6 Serving the Public Interest

We seek to report stories of significance to our audiences.  We will be rigorous in establishing the truth of the story and well informed when explaining it.  Our specialist expertise will bring authority and analysis to the complex world in which we live.  We will ask searching questions of those who hold public office and others who are accountable, and provide a comprehensive forum for public debate. 

1.2.7 Fairness

Our output will be based on fairness, openness, honesty and straight dealing.  Contributors and audiences will be treated with respect. 

1.2.8 Privacy

We will respect privacy and will not infringe it without good reason, wherever in the world we are operating.  Private behaviour, information, correspondence and conversation will not be brought into the public domain unless there is a public interest that outweighs the expectation of privacy.

1.2.9 Children

We will always seek to safeguard the welfare of children and young people who contribute to and feature in our content, wherever in the world we operate.  We will preserve their right to speak out and participate, while ensuring their dignity and their physical and emotional welfare is protected during the making and broadcast of our output.  Content which might be unsuitable for children will be scheduled appropriately. 

1.2.10 Transparency

We will be transparent about the nature and provenance of the content we offer online.  Where appropriate, we will identify who has created it and will use labelling to help online users make informed decisions about the suitability of content for themselves and their children. 

1.2.11 Accountability

We are accountable to our audiences and will deal fairly and openly with them.  Their continuing trust in the BBC is a crucial part of our relationship with them.  We will be open in acknowledging mistakes when they are made and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them. 

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