BBC to take away stars' Twitter accounts if they breach impartiality guidelines 1 year ago

BBC to take away stars' Twitter accounts if they breach impartiality guidelines

The new Director-General made the announcement at a select committee

BBC Director-General Tim Davie has said that the corporation will take Twitter accounts from BBC employees who do not stick to new guidelines.


"We will be able to take people off Twitter," Davie told a select committee on Tuesday.

Davie was asked by Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital Culture, Media & Sport Committee, if he was prepared to "terminate the contracts of those who do breach the rules on impartiality, whether on social media or on air."

"I am prepared to take the appropriate disciplinary action all the way to termination," Davie replied.

Knight went on to refer to a tweet from Gary Lineker in July, which in which the Match of the Day host alluded to Boris Johnson's "lack of" leadership.


Davie said that he did not want to "go back and look at every historical tweet" at the committee, but elaborated on upcoming guidelines to be published in the coming weeks.

"We are going to be publishing in the next few weeks, and this is imminent, clear social media guidelines. And they will cover both news and current affairs, and beyond news and current affairs."

"And we will have, within those guidelines, the endorsement policies [which will] be very clear. We will be able to take disciplinary action, we'll be able to take people off Twitter."

"I know people want to see hard action on this."

When questioned on the point of removing staff from social media, Davie replied: "If they want to work for the BBC, I can say, you would suspend their Twitter account, absolutely."


In his inaugural speech in Cardiff on September 3rd, Davie outlined impartiality as one of his four key priorities.

"We’ll take action in coming weeks, but to be clear, there will be new guidance on how we best deliver our impartiality guideline," he said in his speech.

"New social media rules, which will be rigorously enforced; and clearer direction on the declaration of external interests. There will be new training across the organisation, to explore the tough, but interesting dilemmas that the modern world presents."