Appendix 5: Guidelines for BBC Commercial Services on Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests

4.11

Part of the BBC's role is to act as a "trusted guide on the web".  Whenever we create content on a BBC site we should actively consider which external sites it may be editorially justifiable to link toWe offer external links from the editorial pages of the commercial sites, for example to provide additional information, source material or informed comment.  BBC sites which cover matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or any other 'controversial subject' should normally offer links to external sites which represent a reasonable range of views about the subject.

(See BBC Editorial Guidelines Section 4 Impartiality: 4.4.10)

We must not give the impression that we are endorsing a commercial product or service when linking to a commercial site.  We should not include a link within the editorial text of a commercial site, in return for cash, services or any other consideration in kind.

Links from the editorial text of a commercial site must be editorially justified and should lead to sites which are:

  • clearly relevant to the content of the BBC page where the link is placed.
  • suitable for the likely audience
  • regularly updated and refreshed, if appropriate
  • normally factually accurate.

(See BBC Editorial Guidelines Section 5 Harm and Offence and Section 3 Accuracy 3.4.15)

Editors should review the suitability of maintaining these links as appropriate.