BBC staff have been told they are no longer allowed to attend LGBTQ+ events such as Pride marches on the basis of the broadcaster’s ‘no bias’ rule. According to The Guardian, the BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, introduced the new rules on Thursday October 29 to avoid any staff being seen as ‘politically biased’ and to consolidate the BBC’s ‘impartial’ stance.
Staff are no longer allowed to take part in “public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues”, even when not marching under an identifiable BBC banner. They will also have to follow stricter social media guidelines, which extend to liking or sharing tweets, and using emojis. Davie said those who do not stick to regulations will have their social media accounts removed.
The new rules say: “Judgement is required as to what issues are ‘controversial’ with regard to marches or demonstrations, though it should be assumed that most marches are contentious to some degree or other.” One BBC journalist said they were told by their manager that Pride events were likely to count as being controversial due to ‘growing opposition’ to trans rights in the UK.
Some staff have reportedly challenged the new guidelines, including TV personality and LGBTQ+ icon Sue Perkins, who shared a series of rainbow emojis on Twitter in response to the BBC’s move, with many supporting her stance.
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