David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards for the company, told a meeting of senior officials on Wednesday that the new rules include a ban on attending “political protests”, such as Black Lives events. Matter and LGBT pride.
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According to sources, senior executives have challenged Mr Jordan to extend the ban to pride events on the grounds that the BBC could be seen as taking sides in the transgender rights debate.
Apologies for “signaling virtue”
The new policy has reportedly infuriated LGBT staff. Senior executives across the UK have complained in recent weeks as the new guidelines emerged.
The guidelines only apply to staff members who are supposed to be politically neutral, for example in news and current affairs.
A source said is the change is “obviously to please the Daily mail and make the BBC less of a target by rowing ”.
The new guide to bias, released by managing director Tim Davie, tells BBC staff they should avoid “signaling virtue” and refrain from supporting campaigns “no matter how bad the cause is. seemingly dignified or how accepted or uncontroversial their message seems ”.
In an internal appeal to staff on Thursday, Fran Unsworth, director of BBC News, apparently apologized for the term “virtue reporting” but reiterated the implications of following the guidelines so as not to be seen as political.
LGBT stars in the firing line
The move could cause fallout with some of its highest-paid stars. Evan Davis, Radio 4’s host PM program and Dragon’s lair, faces National Student Pride, while BBC News host Jane Hill frequently attends LGBT events, such as the British LGBT Awards.
In previous years, the BBC had been present at some of the UK’s biggest pride events, including London and Manchester. Its internal network of LGBT staff, BBC Pride, has not tweeted since July. It is understood that the network has not been consulted by management on the new rules.
A BBC spokesperson declined to comment on the specific implications of the new rules, but did not deny the policy.