What are the BBC’s guidelines on impartiality and do they apply to Gary Lineker?

Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker has been asked to step back from his hosting duties on the BBC program after he was embroiled in a row over impartiality.

However, a former BBC executive said there was “a lot of confusion” about whether the company’s guidelines should apply to Lineker, who works as an independent broadcaster.

Here’s a look at the BBC’s rules on neutrality:

What do the BBC guidelines say?

The BBC says it is “committed” to achieving due impartiality in all its output, describing it as “fundamental to our reputation, values ​​and audience trust”.

The company’s guidelines state that neutrality must be “appropriate and appropriate for the output, taking into account the subject matter and nature of the content, the potential audience’s expectation and any cues that may influence that expectation.”

He adds that BBC productions should “always scrutinize arguments, question consensus and hold accountable” with both consistency and due impartiality.

Richard Sambrook, the BBC’s former director of news and director of BBC Global News and the BBC World Service, told the PA news agency that “impartiality is crucial” for the BBC and staff in “everything they do”.

What is the BBC’s policy on social media?

The BBC’s guidelines note that social media is “now part of everyday life” and that all its staff are free to “participate in social media activities if they wish”.

However, they state that, similar to official platforms, all activities “whether in a ‘professional’ or ‘personal’ capacity must be informed by editorial guidelines.

The guide states that a “clear distinction” should be made between BBC spaces run by the BBC for the purposes of the BBC and personal spaces run by staff or talent of the BBC for their own personal purposes.

What did Lineker do?

Lineker was rebuked by the BBC after she responded on Twitter to a Home Office video in which Home Secretary Soella Braverman revealed government plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

The former England striker wrote: “There is no massive influx. We take in far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people with language not unlike that used by Germany in the 1930s.”

The BBC said it had decided Lineker would step back from his hosting duties at the Department for Transport until they had a “clear and agreed position on his use of social media”.

Do the BBC guidelines apply to Lineker?

Lineker is the BBC’s independent broadcaster, not a permanent member of staff, and is not responsible for news or political content, so you don’t need to abide by the same rules about impartiality.

His comments were made on Twitter on his personal account, which does not include an official link to the BBC or MOTD in his bio.

The BBC’s guidelines note, however, that personalities who are “clearly identified with the BBC” are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and “in ways consistent with the BBC’s editorial values ​​and policies”.

“For a sports presenter in his personal life to express views that are not impartial, not as seriously as he would be a news journalist,” Mr Sambrook told PA.

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