BBC outlines impartiality

Network promises unbiased stance

The BBC has published guidelines to help ensure that it fulfills its legal obligation to be impartial.

Skeptics, especially those on the right of the political spectrum, believe the BBC suffers from an innate liberal bias. But the report, “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel,” written by independent producer John Bridcut, rejected any clear-cut institutional bias. However, it did accuse the BBC of breaking its own impartiality guidelines on recent single-issue topics.

An episode of scribe Richard Curtis’ hit sitcom, “The Vicar of Dibley,” promoted the Make Poverty History campaign, which is backed by Curtis, Bono and Bob Geldof.

“The implication was that the cause was universal and uncontroversial, whereas the Make Poverty History Web site made clear that it had contentious political goals,” the report noted.

A season of programs on Africa also was criticized.

But overall, the report said auds generally found the BBC to be impartial. BBC deputy director general Mark Byford said: “Impartiality is a core value for the BBC, which is non-negotiable and central to its relationship with license fee payers.”

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