Learn how the BBC is working to strengthen trust and transparency in online news
The BBC is recognised by audiences in the UK and around the world as a provider of news that you can trust. Our website, like our TV and radio services, strives for journalism that is accurate, impartial, independent and fair.
Our editorial values say: "The trust that our audience has in all our content underpins everything that we do. We are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly or materially misleading our audiences.
"Our commitment to impartiality is at the heart of that relationship of trust. In all our output we will treat every subject with an impartiality that reflects the full range of views. We will consider all the relevant facts fairly and with an open mind."
Research shows that, compared to other broadcasters, newspapers and online sites, the BBC is seen as by far the most trusted and impartial news provider in the UK [PDF].
Even so, we know that identifying credible journalism on the internet can be a confusing experience. We also know that audiences want to understand more about how BBC journalism is produced.
For these reasons, BBC News is making even greater efforts to explain what type of information you are reading or watching on our website, who and where the information is coming from, and how a story was crafted the way it was. By doing so, we can help you judge for yourself why BBC News can be trusted.
We are also making these indicators of trustworthy journalism "machine-readable", meaning that they can be picked up by search engines and social media platforms, helping them to better identify reliable sources of information too.
These indicators comprise the following areas:
The BBC has long had its own Editorial Guidelines that apply to all of our content and set out the standards expected of our journalists. To make it easier to see how BBC guidelines are used in our newsroom, we have listed all the relevant sections on this page.
Mission Statement: The mission of the BBC is to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services that inform, educate and entertain. Full details are in the BBC Charter.
Ownership Structure, Funding and Grants: We are independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity. Our audiences should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures, or any personal interests. Learn more about how BBC News is funded, in the UK and internationally, in the BBC Charter on the independence of the BBC.
- Editorial Guidelines on Impartiality
- Editorial Guidelines on Editorial Standards
- Editorial Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest
- BBC Framework Agreement on provision of commercial activities
- Guidelines for BBC Commercial Services
Founding Date: The BBC was founded on 18 October 1922. Read more about the history of the BBC.
Ethics Policy: The BBC's Editorial Guidelines outline the editorial values and practices that all our output is expected to conform to.
Diversity Policy: Learn about BBC News' commitment to diversity in the BBC Charter.
Diversity Staffing Report: Find out about how BBC News is working to increase diversity in the BBC's Equality Information Report.
Corrections: The BBC is committed to achieving due accuracy. Policies relating to corrections can be found in the following sections of our Editorial Guidelines.
Our output must be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We should be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation. Claims, allegations, material facts and other content that cannot be corroborated should normally be attributed.
We are open in acknowledging mistakes when they are made and encourage a culture of willingness to learn from them.
If an article has been edited since publication to correct a material inaccuracy, a note will be added at the end of the text to signal to the reader there has been an amendment or correction with the date of that change. If there is a small error in a story that does not alter its editorial meaning (eg name misspelling), the correction will be made without an additional note.
Unless content is specifically made available only for a limited time period, there is a presumption that material published online will become part of a permanently accessible archive and will not normally be removed. Exceptional circumstances may include legal reasons, personal safety risks, or a serious breach of editorial standards that cannot be rectified except by removal of the material.
Verification/Fact-checking Standards: The BBC's accuracy and verification policy is outlined in the Editorial Guidelines on Accuracy.
Unnamed Sources: The BBC's policy and guidance on the use of anonymous sources is detailed in the Editorial Guidelines.
- Editorial Guidelines - Mandatory referrals
- Editorial Guidelines - Gathering material
- Editorial Guidelines on user contributions in news output
Actionable Feedback: The BBC's complaints procedure is outlined in the BBC Complaints Framework.
Leadership: Meet the senior executive team that runs the news division: BBC News Board.
BBC News articles based on original reporting carry bylines (the name of the journalist), as often do those authored by journalists who have a subject specialism.
General news stories, which tend to combine information from a variety of sources, including news agencies, BBC Newsgathering and BBC broadcast output, or which may have been produced by several members of staff over the course of the day, do not as a rule carry bylines.
Article bylines for many correspondents and editors link to individual blog pages, where biographical information, expertise, and social media details can be found.
TYPE OF WORK
BBC News distinguishes between factual reporting and opinion. We use machine-readable labels in six categories:
- News - Journalism based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources
- Analysis - Output primarily based on the specialist knowledge of an author, whether a BBC journalist or outside expert, to help you understand complex current affairs and trends
- Ask the Audience - Content created primarily to elicit direct audience response
- Explainer - Content that provides clear factual explanation of the causes or context behind the news
- Opinion - BBC News itself is impartial and does not offer opinions but we do sometimes publish expressions of personal views by outside experts, advocating ideas and drawing conclusions based on the author's interpretation of facts and data
- Review - Content based on a critical appraisal of an event, a work of art etc, containing first-hand opinion
CITATIONS AND REFERENCES
Our output, as appropriate to its subject and nature, should be well sourced, based on sound evidence, thoroughly tested and presented in clear, precise language. We strive to be honest and open about what we don't know and avoid unfounded speculation.
Where BBC News relies on a single source for a key aspect of its coverage, we will strive to credit that source, where possible. We usually link to official reports, sets of statistics and other sources of information, to enable you to judge for yourself the underlying information that we are reporting on.
Whenever appropriate, we also offer links to relevant third-party websites that provide additional information, source material or informed comment.
For in-depth pieces of work, such as complex investigations or data journalism projects, we will help you understand how we went about our work by showing the underlying data and by disclosing any caveats, assumptions or other methodological frameworks used - for example, the study-design; the sample size; representativeness; margins of error; how the data was collected; geographical relevance and time periods.