BBC Trust responds to Taste and Standards report

Date: 24.06.2009     Last updated: 23.09.2014 at 09.50
The BBC Trust has today set out its response to the BBC Executive's report into taste and standards in UK broadcasting.

The Trust welcomes the contribution made by the report and makes some specific recommendations of its own in its commentary. It also outlines the next steps for the full forthcoming review of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines. The Trust is interested in public feedback and comments on the findings of the Executive's report, and will be taking this into account in the review.

David Liddiment, BBC Trustee, said:

"Ensuring audiences aren't exposed to unnecessarily offensive content, while guarding against stifling creativity, is a balancing act. Audiences clearly expect the highest standards from the BBC – and BBC One in particular.

"The Trust is determined that those standards are met and the new research and the commentary published today will help deliver this."

The Taste and Standards report has three main outcomes. First, it contains a series of detailed recommendations for action – some immediate – which will be carried out by the Executive and which the Trust welcomes.

The Trust has asked the Executive to consider altering the BBC Editorial Guidelines or online guidance to the effect that the most offensive language should only be used in exceptional circumstances on BBC One between 9 and 10 pm. In addition, the Trust recognises that licence fee payers can distinguish between comedy and satire, which they appreciate, and unjustified humiliation, of which they disapprove. The BBC should not make programmes that celebrate or condone gratuitous, aggressive, intrusive, and humiliating behaviour. The Trust has challenged the Executive to clearly address this issue in the Editorial Guidelines.

Second, the research will inform the Trust's long-term goal to improve editorial standards and encourage creativity at the BBC.

Third, public feedback we receive, along with the research, will feed into the full review of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines which the BBC Trust has commissioned for later in 2009. These set out the standards that all BBC content must meet.

The Executive will submit revised guidelines to the Trust for consideration at its July meeting, with a view to implementing the new Editorial Guidelines by early summer 2010.

The full text of the BBC Trust's commentary can be accessed at: Trust response to BBC Executive's Taste and Standards report.



Notes to editors:

'Taste, Standards and the BBC: Public Attitudes to Morality, Values and Behaviour in UK Broadcasting' was commissioned by the BBC Executive at the request of the BBC Trust following the broadcasts on Radio 2's Russell Brand Show in October 2008.

It details major new in-depth audience research carried out by the BBC, and sets out the resulting recommendations to tighten up protection for BBC audiences from potentially offensive content, whilst providing appropriate safeguards for creativity and innovation in programming.