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BBC World Service | Inside BBC Journalism | Impartiality
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Covering elections

There is no area of broadcasting where the BBC's commitment to impartiality is more closely scrutinised than in reporting election campaigns.

There is a widespread misunderstanding that the Representation of the People Act governs the broadcasters' commitment to fairness at election time. It does not.

The BBC's commitment is governed not by election law but by the provisions on impartiality in the Charter and Agreement, and by a body of editorial policy developed over many years to ensure fairness in the coverage of elections.

Our guidelines offer a framework but cannot cover every eventuality. No formula can guarantee fairness in all circumstances.

Editors must make, and be able to defend, individual programme decisions on the basis that they are reasonable and carefully and impartially reached.

All parties will seek to influence editorial decisions at election time, and while all complaints should be taken seriously, programme makers must not be intimidated by them.

Related links:
vspace=4/ The BBC's guidelines on politics (PDF file)

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