BBC clamps down on social media posts by staff

Published October 30, 2020
The British Broadcasting Corporation unveiled new impartiality guidelines after accusations that journalists and other staff have undermined its credibility via their social media accounts. — AFP/File
The British Broadcasting Corporation unveiled new impartiality guidelines after accusations that journalists and other staff have undermined its credibility via their social media accounts. — AFP/File

LONDON: The British Broadcasting Corporation unveiled new impartiality guidelines on Thursday after accusations that journalists and other staff have undermined its credibility via their social media accounts or by accepting lucrative offers to give outside speeches.

Staff, contractors and freelancers could face dismissal for “serious” breaches of the guidelines, according to the broadcaster, which has been coming under pressure from the ruling Conservatives over its funding and the politics of some personnel.

“Impartiality is the foundation on which we deliver insightful, exciting and ground-breaking stories,” new director-general Tim Davie said in an email to staff.

One of the stars potentially in Davie’s sights is former England footballer Gary Lineker, the publicly-funded corporation’s best paid presenter, who is an outspoken voice on Twitter.

Lineker and some BBC staff have backed a campaign by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, seeking to force the government to provide free school meals for poorer children outside term time during the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC has also been on the defensive for failing to police outside activities by presenters. North America editor Jon Sopel was criticised last year for giving a paid speech to tobacco giant Philip Morris International in Miami.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020

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