Section 3: Accuracy
Managing Online Content
At the time when BBC content is posted online, the department responsible for its creation should decide on a coherent strategy for its management over time. Consideration should be given to how frequently pages need to be updated or how they are to be treated if they are not to be updated.
News pages and any content that advertises its topicality, or where users might reasonably expect it to be topical, must be kept up to date. Content that appears to be topical but is, in fact, clearly out of date may undermine the BBC's reputation for high editorial standards. This includes databases of material gathered over time.
To avoid materially misleading users, it should normally be clear when the content they are accessing was first published and, where relevant, when it was last updated significantly.
For example, pages may have a date stamp from the moment of publication and/or they may be labelled as archived (e.g. by displaying a prominent banner stating that the page is no longer being updated).
When a material change is made to an item of content, the change should normally be indicated to users unless, for example, there are legal or editorial reasons not to do so.
Unless content is specifically made available only for a limited time period, there is a presumption that material published online will become part of a permanently accessible archive and will not normally be removed.
For news stories, the archive is intended to act as a permanent public record. However, on a limited number of occasions we may decide not to add a topical link to a specific archived news page. Very exceptionally, we may require a page to be removed. Such exceptional circumstances may include legal reasons, personal safety risks, or a serious breach of editorial standards that cannot be rectified except by removal of the material. Any proposal to remove an online news page from the archive should be referred to the Editor News Online, who may wish to consult Programme Legal Advice and Editorial Policy.
In other areas, we may occasionally have to remove some audio-visual content, a section of a specific programme, or in exceptional cases the whole programme. This may be for personal safety, privacy, fairness, legal reasons or a serious breach of editorial standards. However, it should only be done with the approval of the relevant senior editorial figure.
An appropriate mechanism, including a system of referrals, should be in place to remove or revoke BBC online content, whether it is text or audio-visual, short form or long form, and published on a BBC site or syndicated elsewhere.
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