Section 5: Harm and Offence
(Mandatory Referrals are part of the BBC's editorial management system. While they will not, in themselves, meet the Principles in the Editorial Guidelines, they are an essential part of the process to ensure compliance and must be observed.)
Programmes broadcast on television between 5.30am and 9pm must be suitable for a general audience including children. Programmes in later pre-watershed slots may not be suitable for the youngest children or for children to watch without an older person. Any proposed exceptions must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independents, to the commissioning editor.
Any proposal to use the strongest language (cunt, motherfucker and fuck or its derivatives) must be referred to and approved by the relevant output controller. Chief Adviser Editorial Policy may also be consulted.
Clear editorial justification will be required on the rare occasions we broadcast graphic scenes of bullfighting, cockfighting and other similar activities, even if they are recorded in countries where they are legal. Any proposal to do so must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independents, to the commissioning editor.
Any proposal to broadcast a hanging scene, portray suicide, attempted suicide or self-harm must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independents, to the commissioning editor. Referral should also be made to Chief Adviser Editorial Policy.
Any proposal to feature a demonstration of hypnosis must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independents, to the commissioning editor.
Any proposal to include flashing images or strobing sequences in recorded programmes which fail the Transmission Review technical checks must be approved by the relevant output controller.
Any content that might use techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred (for example, by using images of very brief duration) must be referred to a senior editorial figure, or for independents to the commissioning editor, who may wish to consult Editorial Policy.
- Mandatory Referrals
- Audience Expectations
- Content Information
- The Watershed and Scheduling for TV, Radio and Online
- Live Output
- Intimidation and Humiliation
- Alcohol, Smoking, Solvent Abuse and Illegal Drugs
- Suicide, Attempted Suicide, Self-Harm and Eating Disorders
- Imitative Behaviour
- Tragic Events
- Hypnotism, Exorcism, the Occult and the Paranormal
- Flashing Images, Strobing and Images of Very Brief Duration
- Acquired Programmes
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