BBC Wales morning radio news selected for review as part of broadcaster’s ‘impartiality plan’
BBC Wales’ morning radio news has been selected for an ‘internal content review’ by the broadcaster.
Its programmes were selected for the review which will assess editorial standards and culture including impartiality, freedom of expression, diversity of voices, accuracy, fairness and trust.
The review is part of a BBC ‘impartiality plan’ which includes regular reviews of content, increased transparency and a new editorial whistleblowing policy, announced last October, as part of a drive to ensure its content is fair, accurate and unbiased.
BBC Breakfast, Countryfile and the morning radio news programmes in Scotland and Northern Ireland have also been selected as part of the review.
The BBC said these selections have not been made because of particular impartiality concerns with those programmes.
The broadcaster’s 10-point action plan to ensure inmaprtiality was published in response to the Serota Review into the BBC’s governance and culture, which made a number of recommendations on improving editorial standards.
The review itself was launched following the publication of Lord Dyson’s scathing report into the circumstances surrounding Martin Bashir’s 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Peter Johnston, BBC’s director for Northern Ireland, has been leading the implementation of the plan.
He said: “Audiences expect impartiality and strong editorial standards from the BBC, and it is our absolute priority to do all we can to maintain their trust, and tackle perceptions of bias.
“We are making good progress with the action plan and the hard work continues.”
The BBC have also published a whistleblowing policy to provide staff and freelancers with a “confidential mechanism” to raise concerns about activity at the broadcaster.
In the new progress report, the BBC says the whistleblowing policy aims to “encourage anyone with honestly-held concerns to report them”, including about editorial issues.
It notes that “usually” concerns can be resolved informally or formally through routes such as using the company’s management chain and other policies already in place including those for grievances and anti-bullying and harassment.
However, it also says that if individuals are “not comfortable” using these routes or if the concern raised remained unresolved, then the new policy “provides a range of alternative ways to report the issue”.
The broadcaster has also updated how it handles fast-tracked complaints and created a new process for BBC-initiated editorial investigations.
The BBC also said that more than 24,000 people have completed “bespoke impartiality training” since January 2021, with all new joiners required to complete it.
BBC director-general Tim Davie added: “The BBC is consistently rated as the most trusted news source by audiences – but we take nothing for granted.
“That’s why ensuring extraordinarily high standards of impartiality across our content is vital.
“This work is being done at pace. We will get this right. We need a BBC that everyone can have high levels of confidence in.”
The Serota review, led by Arts Council England chairman Sir Nicholas Serota, was commissioned by the BBC board following the publication of Lord Dyson’s report in May 2021.
It said the risk of editorial standards being circumvented by staff “has been reduced significantly in the last 25 years”.
However, it found some investigations into potential rule breaches “were too slow to gather the facts, leaving staff to manage hostile media and audience reaction”.
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