Section 7: Privacy



The BBC must balance the public interest in freedom of expression with the legitimate expectation of privacy by individuals.  Any infringement of a legitimate expectation of privacy in the gathering of material, including secret recording and doorstepping, must be justifiable as proportionate in the particular circumstances of the case. 


We must balance the public interest in the full and accurate reporting of stories involving human suffering and distress with an individual's privacy and respect for their human dignity.


We must justify intrusions into an individual's private life without consent by demonstrating that the intrusion is outweighed by the public interest.


We normally only report the private legal behaviour of public figures where broader public issues are raised either by the behaviour itself or by the consequences of its becoming widely known.  The fact of publication by other media may not justify the BBC reporting it.


When gathering personal information from contributors, audiences and other members of the public, we must be clear about how we intend to use it.  It must be handled in accordance with the guidelines issued by Information Policy and Compliance.