National News

The BBC Issues New Guidelines For Flagship Presenters

Joanne Hamilton

Following Gary Lineker’s comments on the government’s Illegal Migration Bill back on March 7th 2023, the BBC have introduced new rules for their flagship presenters.

The BBC has clarified that presenters will still be able to express their views on political issues, but only outside of a set timeframe around their show times, and not during election time. They also must not endorse or criticise a particular party during this time frame.

The BBC has stated that flagship presenters should not engage in political campaigning- they have not, however, clarified what would be considered political campaigning.

The revised guidelines include expectations for all flagship presenters, stating that those presenting flagship programmes must balance ‘’both freedom of expression and impartiality […]’’.

The list of flagship programmes includes Match of the Day, The Apprentice, Top Gear, Dragons’ Den, Antiques Roadshow, MasterChef, Strictly Come Dancing, The One Show, and all major sporting events.

The introduced guidelines include a strengthened ‘’Lineker clause’’.

This follows the former footballer’s comments on Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, criticising the Conservative government’s plans to prevent migrants from crossing the English channel on small boats: ‘’we take far fewer refugees than other major European countries”, and comparing the language used by the government to ‘’that used by Germany in the 30s’’.

The responses to Gary Lineker’s tweet varied between supportive and critical, with the BBC deciding to remove Lineker from his position as Match of the Day host, amidst the controversy until they reached an ‘’agreed and clear position on his use of social media’’, while Ian Wright informed the BBC that he would resign from his position on Match of the Day if they did not reinstate Lineker.

Lineker responded to the new guidelines on X, commenting that the new rules are ‘’All very sensible’’.

More information about the new guidelines can be read here

Joanne Hamilton

Featured image courtesy of Daniel Robert Dinu via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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