Section 4: Impartiality

Contentious Views and Possible Offence

4.4.18

Contributors expressing contentious views, either through an interview or other means, must be rigorously tested while being given a fair chance to set out their full response to questions.  Minority views should be given appropriate space in our output; it is not for the BBC to suppress discussion.

(See Section 4 Impartiality: 4.4.2)

Consequently, we will sometimes need to report on, or interview, people whose views may cause serious offence to many in our audiences.  On such occasions, referral should be made to a senior editorial figure who may wish to consult Editorial Policy.  The potential for offence must be weighed against the public interest and any risk to the BBC's impartiality.  Coverage should acknowledge the possibility of offence, and be appropriately robust, but it should also be fair and dispassionate.

The public expression by staff and presenters of personal offence or indignation risks jeopardising the BBC's impartiality.