Section 15: Conflicts of Interest


A conflict of interest may arise when the external activities of anyone involved in making our content affects the BBC's reputation for integrity, independence and high standards, or may be reasonably perceived to do so.  Our audiences must be able to trust the BBC and be confident that our editorial decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests.

(See Section 14 Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests)

There is a danger of conflict of interest in every area of programme or content making.  Each department or team must be aware of its area of vulnerability.  There may be particular sensitivities for on-air talent.

The Principles on conflicts of interest apply equally to everyone who makes our content.  Independent producers should not have inappropriate outside interests which could undermine the integrity and impartiality of the programmes and content they produce for the BBC.

All BBC staff are required formally to declare any personal interest which may affect their work with the BBC.  Freelance presenters, reporters, producers and researchers and most other freelances will also be required to declare personal interests which may affect their work with the BBC.

In addition to this section of the Editorial Guidelines, there is Guidance on Conflicts of Interest available on the Editorial Guidelines website.  For most BBC staff there is a requirement to comply with it.

There are also particular legal and regulatory constraints on those involved in financial journalism or those who are involved in output offering financial or consumer advice.  Detailed advice in this area is given in the BBC Financial Journalism Guidelines.

Nothing in the Editorial Guidelines is intended to prevent elected officials of the BBC's recognised trade unions carrying out legitimate activities on behalf of their union.