The BBC’s Editorial Values and Standards

  • Browse the GuidelinesThe Editorial Guidelines are the BBC's editorial values and standards. They apply to all our content, wherever and however it is received.
  • Browse the GuidanceGuidance notes supplement the Editorial Guidelines, with further explanation of their themes and practical tips.

Information

  • Northern Ireland flag and the Commonwealth GamesNorthern Ireland doesn’t have an ‘official’ flag and the Ulster Banner (or Ulster flag) isn’t always seen as representing the whole community. However, some sporting organisations and others, including the NI Commonwealth Games Committee, do continue to use the Ulster Banner in a formal way in the context of the team’s participation in the Games. Guidance on specific queries about the use of flags and emblems in relation to stories about Northern Ireland is available from the Head of News & Current Affairs in the Belfast Newsroom. There has been a minor amendment to the “Reporting the UK” Guidance.
  • World Events and Use of Social MediaMany of us use social media to discuss world events and share personal news, and it’s important that we all remember that there are rules and expectations for the way we do that. There’s detailed guidance on social media use which can also help everyone who works for the BBC to meet its commitment to impartiality. That guidance applies regardless of whether or not professional or personal social media accounts are used. Here’s some of those rules: 1. Always behave professionally, treating others with respect and courtesy at all times: follow the BBC’s Values. 2. Don’t bring the BBC into disrepute. 3. If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’. 4. Don’t criticise your colleagues in public. Respect the privacy of the workplace and the confidentiality of internal announcements. Please refer to Guidance: Individual Use of Social Media - Editorial Guidelines (bbc.co.uk).
  • UkraineThere is advice in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines on reporting War, Terror & Emergencies which includes considerations about accuracy and impartiality, as well as harm and offence issues when using graphic material. In addition, a number of programmes have asked for advice on covering fundraising activity. BBC Editorial Policy has put together specific advice on this. We also need to take particular care with material of prisoners of war on both sides of the conflict. It’s important that we act in line with the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which reflects the fact that prisoners of war are under duress and not in a position to act or speak freely. Any decision to use material of prisoners of war, accept offers of access, or interview prisoners, needs to be discussed in advance with senior editors and - where appropriate – Editorial Policy. There is also guidance available about user generated content. It is important to consider the safety of contributors, and as well as our guidance on Working with Vulnerable Contributors. Advice can also be sought from High Risk and News Safety. Please remember to get in touch with Editorial Policy if you need any help navigating this complex story.
  • Updated Guidance - Working with Children and Young People as ContributorsThe Guidance on Working with Children and Young People as Contributors has been updated. Changes include that there may be some instances when it is appropriate to give the full name of a child or young person because it is important that we recognise that children and young people have the right of self-expression and to have their achievements and life history recorded. The Guidance also sets out the different areas that Editorial Policy and BBC Safeguarding teams advise on.
  • Updated Guidance - Use of DronesCare needs to be taken over privacy when filming with drones as their versatility means they can be go beyond walls or fences, easily accessing private spaces. The Use of Drones guidance has been updated to reflect regulatory changes introduced in December 2020 by the Civil Aviation Authority, the UK agency responsible for drone safety. Advice on filming with drones is available from Programme Legal Advice, Editorial Policy and Safety.
  • Updated Guidance: Working with contributorsUpdated guidance on working with contributors, including vulnerable contributors or those at risk of vulnerability, to reflect changes to the Ofcom broadcasting code.