Media format : TV, Broadcast, Internet
Geographical distribution area : International
Geographical area : United Kingdom
Website : www.bbc.co.uk
Media language : English
Country : United Kingdom
City : London
Address : Wood Lane, London W12 7TQ
Created : 1922
Owner : BBC Trust Public Service, an independent government body. The BBC Director General is appointed by the British Government.
Status : Public company
Chairman of the BBC Trust : (controlling body of the BBC) Lord Chris Patten resigned in May Acting Chairman: Diane Hoyle
Director General : Tony Hall (raised to the peerage as Lord Hall of Birkenhead)
Director for BBC Radio : Helen Boaden
Director for BBC TV : Danny Cohen
Director for BBC Digital : James Purnell
Director for Editorial Policy and Standards : David Jordan
Turnover : 1 115 million euros (2012 figure)
The BBC makes about 25 % of its turnover from sales of its programmes around the world. This exceptional result is largely due to the fact that about half of its programmes are produced internally.
Staff : about 23 000 salaried staff making the BCC the largest public audio-visual employer in the world.
Production centres : the largest are: Salford Quays, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow.
Advertising : the BBC does not broadcast advertisements
The British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1922 by a consortium of radio manufacturers.
The company became the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1925, a public company established by Royal Charter. From 1925 to 1936 it was directed by John Reith who formulated the first principles of its public service mission.
The BBC retained its monopoly for audio-visual programmes in Great Britain until 1955 when ITV (Independent Television) was created.
Today the BBC is made up of about ten TV channels and twenty radio stations.
In November 2012 George Entwistle the former Director General of the BBC Trust (controlling body of the BBC) was forced to resign because of the editorial management of a paedophilia scandal.
In 2013, for the first time in its 90-year-old history, the British Group asked for a compulsory loan of £170 million to finance itself rather than being financed by a bank.
The group announced in 2014 the closure of one of its channels, BBC Three, specialized in 12-25 year olds.
The Editorial Guidelines were drawn up in 1989 by John Wilson, the first Director for Editorial Policy.
It has since been the responsibility of David Jordan, journalist and new Director for Editorial Policy and Standards.
The Guidelines are revised every four or five years and a copy is given to all BBC programme journalists and producers. It is also available to the public on the website: www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/ .
These are constantly being improved and the Guidelines are now accompanied by a casebook which outlines and analyses daily practices and commitments: www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/guidance/ .
1.2. – How is their application monitored? : By the hierarchy and also by the public
The values of the BBC are widely acclaimed and are under constant exposure. They are part of the ‘house culture’ and every journalist, editor or department head plays a part.
As a public audio-visual group and institution, the BBC is scrutinised by the British parliament and also by its own committee, as well as by its listeners and viewers, who monitor that it remains faithful to its original commitments and values.
2.2. – What mechanisms are there to evaluate already published material? : There are two daily review meetings
A review meeting is called every morning at 8.40 a.m. by Helen Boaden, Director of News, or by her Deputy and are attended by a representative from each department.
A second meeting with the programme producers is called at 9 a.m. for the lower hierarchy levels.
A representative of the Communications Department can attend these meetings to pass on public reactions.
2.3. – Which systems are in place to identify and correct errors? Fact checking? : There is no fact-checking
The BBC does not have any internal service looking for pre- or post-broadcasting errors.
3.1. – What is the relationship between editorial values and advertising content? : There is no advertising
The only channel of the BBC Group which can broadcast advertising is BBC Worldwide as it is not financed by a licence fee.
However, accordance with its tradition of formalising its commitments, the group has drawn up a guide for advertising and partnerships, notably for its on-line services.
The latest version is dated 2013: www.bbcworldwide.com/advertising.aspx .
3.2. – What arbitration systems are in place for disputes? : An editorial committee for each channel
The Editorial Committee of BBC Worldwide (the only channel in the group that may broadcast advertising) makes the decisions regarding advertising choices. The Editorial Policy Team which controls editorial policy is also consulted.
3.3. – What is the structure for sponsorships and editorial partnerships? : Defined by the Editorial Guidelines
4.1. – How are press trips and embedded journalists managed? : Accepted but financed by the media
Press trips are accepted on condition they are paid for by the BBC.
The principle of embedded journalists is accepted if there is no other way to access a war zone. This is how journalists went to Afghanistan and Iraq with the British Army, US Army and the Taliban. Filming conditions are clearly indicated when the report is broadcast.
4.2. – How are conflicts of interests with the owner resolved? : There are reference texts
Between the Royal Charter which created the BBC, and a succession of ‘Guidelines’, ‘Guidance’ and reference texts of all sorts, all situations for potential conflicts of interest seem to have been provided for. These manuals of principles and procedural texts have made the public audio-visual group one of the world references in terms of independence.
4.3. – How are political and economic pressures managed? : By the Directors for News and a specific unit
The BBC is ‘fiercely independent’ but is nevertheless open to dialogue with politicians. The Director for News or one of their collaborators responds directly to complaints from politicians.
During election periods a special service of three to four people manages complaints from politicians.
4.4. – How is general news or “news in brief” treated? : Responsibly and in context
The BBC tries not to give too much importance to human interest news, never making it the top story of a news broadcast.
When these kind of news are treated, the highlight is on the context and the perspective.
The BBC is very aware of not broadcasting images which can be shocking to victims and their families.
4.5. – What criteria are there for the publication of photos/ transmission of filmed images? : According to public sensitivity
Every two or three years the BBC brings together panels of viewers to explore their level of tolerance to violence depending on the type of programme and the time it is shown. We have found in this way that BBC audiences have more tolerance to violence in a documentary than in a News broadcast.
Infographics may be inserted into images but they are clearly recognisable as such.
4.6. – How are amateur photos or videos treated? : The reliability of the documents / images is stressed
A team of six people are responsible for checking the authenticity of amateur documents. The BBC broadcasts many of them and always highlights the reliability of the image.
Amateur images can be paid for in exceptional circumstances.
4.7. – What is the status of permanent or freelance journalist blogs? : Duty of confidentiality
The rules of the channel apply to BBC-identified blogs whose texts have been read and validated by a department head.
For personal blogs, Twitter and Facebook, journalists have to use professional discretion. They cannot express their political opinions.
4.8. – What are the conditions for working undercover? : With authorisation
Hidden cameras must be validated by the hierarchy and/or the controlling department for editorial policy.
The BBC enters totalitarian countries undercover.
In 2010, the Editorial complaints unit received 220 000 messages which were managed by a team of six people.
In 250 to 270 cases, viewers were not satisfied with the response they were given and upheld their complaint. In these cases the mediator, Fraser Steel, intervenes to check if there has been a breach of editorial policy.
Fraser Steel is in constant communication with David Jordan, director of the Editorial Policy team.
He replies by recommended letter reiterating the rules applied in the case concerned. He watches the programme or report in question and interviews the journalist before making a decision.
If the complaint seems justified, the mediator can refer it to the Department head concerned and sends a letter to the complainant apologising in the name of the BBC. Apologies can also be published on the website or broadcast on air.
The decisions of the Editorial Complaints unit are final and the mediator reports directly to the BBC Trust, the body defining BBC global strategy.
Viewers have four points of access to the BBC: a call centre, a specific email address, the editor of the news programme concerned and OFCOM (Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries), which can play the role of intermediary between the public and the BBC mediator.
The BBC received 220 000 complaints from viewers in 2010. Most of these were handled by the call centre.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, they can go to the mediator or the management, 93-98% of these submissions are treated in less than 10 days.
5.3. – How is the ‘right of reply’ managed? : Granted and commented on
The BBC receives about 100 requests for right of reply every year. The Editorial Policy unit plays an advisory role on the form and duration of the right of reply.
The right of reply can be commented on.
5.4. – How are public visits organised? : These are charged for
Paying visits to the BBC may be organised and include access to the editorial team.
5.5. – Are there organised meetings with the public? : A selection of the public
Meetings on a theme are organised with the public, e.g.’How should European news be treated?’ Viewers who attend are selected by the marketing department of the BBC.
Journalists’ contact details are not published but the head of the Editorial Policy Department can be contacted 24 hours a day.
5.7. – How are internet forums managed? : Internal pre-moderation
Forums and comments are pre-moderated by an internal team.
6.2. – How sustainable are the infrastructure and logistics? : A rationalisation plan is in progress
An infrastructure rationalisation plan was launched in 2008. The targets for the schedule 2012/2013 were to reduce electricity consumption and CO2 emissions by 20%, and water consumption and waste production by 25%.
In terms of recycling, the 2013 target was to reach a waste recycling rate of about 75%.
Two new BBC sites (MediaCityUK, Broadcasting House) have scored well, according to the BREEAM method of evaluating environmental performance (drawn up by the Building Research Establishment).
The BBC has drawn up a guide aimed at the television industry to reduce lighting electricity consumption on shoots.
In 2011 the BBC launched ‘Albert’, a system for calculating carbon emissions to identify the most harmful processes in audio and film productions. This will be made available to the industry and to TV partners such as ITV and Channel 4.
An action plan to integrate suppliers into procedures according to sustainable criteria was validated in 2011. A communication campaign targeting suppliers will be launched.
6.4. – Is there sustainable management of film materials? : Information not provided
7.1. – What initiatives are there for developing media literacy? : A complete strategy
In June 2013 the BBC made public its new media educational strategy and has devoted a specific blog .
Having for a long time based education programmes on the passage to digital, the BBC has given this a new definition: “Media education will now mean helping the public to understand better how media functions, how to use it and also how it is created”.
There are several blogs, broadcast programmes and on-the-ground activities treating safety and the respect for private life on the internet: www.bbc.co.uk/webwise or the best way to use connected television www.bbc.co.uk/programmes .
The School Report campaign for 2013/2014 was launched and 400 schools are involved.
The BBC is also a partner in major international programmes for media education, e.g. safer internet day .
7.2. – Is support provided for media in emerging countries? : Via the BBC World Service Trust
The BBC World Service Trust is a BBC foundation leading several programmes in support of media quality in developing countries, to defend the rights of man and to fight against poverty.
The BBC World Service Trust financed local media support programmes in 30 countries in 2010 and 2011. These are financed by donations.
Following the Arab Spring, the BBC World Service Trust created an aid programme for the production of independent news, notably in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. The project was called “Socially responsible media platforms for the Arab world”.
8.1. – What commitments are there for continuous training? : Regular training programmes are offered.
There is no legal obligation for continuous training in Great Britain. However a number of training courses are offered to our staff: using new media, press rights, etc.
Every journalist starting at the BBC has the right to a one week training in ‘house culture’.
8.2. – Is there pay transparency? : For the Directors’ salaries
The salaries of the Directors can be consulted on the BBC website as can their expenses.
8.3. – Is there an apprenticeship tax? : There is no apprenticeship tax in Great Britain
9.1. – How is corporate social responsibility applied? : A specific team
The BBC has recruitment diversity targets. In 2012, people from ethnic minorities had to represent 12.5% of salaried staff and 7% of directors. Disabled people had to make up 5.5% of salaried staff and 4.5% of Senior Management.
The BBC organises a fundraising phone-in every year to raise money for disadvantaged children.
The BBC Wildlife fund organises fundraising for projects for the conservation of species and ecosystems. In 2010 this affected 60 species in 28 countries.