LONDON: The BBC on Friday revealed plans to ensure the “highest editorial standards, including impartiality” across its output after warnings from the British minister in charge of its funding that it needed to change.
The release of the plan comes after government ministers have taken aim at the broadcaster over the summer.
New Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who is leading talks over the corporation’s funding, has called the BBC a “biased leftwing organisation” and its licence fee model a “completely outdated concept”.
The broadcasting giant commissioned a wide-ranging study on its reporting standards in the wake of revelations that former journalist Martin Bashir lied to Princess Diana in order to secure a bombshell interview with her in 1995.
Lead author Nicholas Serota said the BBC needed “to ensure that impartiality, accuracy, fairness and integrity are embedded more deeply across the organisation.”
The broadcaster said it accepted the report’s findings and issued an action plan for what it called its “biggest and most significant push” to ensure unbiased content.
Senior staff should be pushed to “represent audiences from all parts of the UK, both on and off screen,” the plan said.
It also included proposals to extend anti-bias training and quantitively monitor impartiality.
“In this country we have been justifiably proud of the standards of our national debate,” BBC boss Tim Davie wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Friday.
“The BBC has an important role to play. It is fundamental to our public service duty to ensure all voices and views across every part of the UK are heard,” he added.
Dorries earlier this month accused the BBC of a “lack of impartiality”.
Asked about her meeting with BBC bosses over the latest five-year funding plans, she told the Choppers Politics Live podcast: “I think the perspective at the BBC is that they will get the settlement fee and then we will talk about how we are going to change.”
“My perspective is tell me how you are going to change and then you will get the settlement fee.”
The BBC’s current charter runs out at the end of 2027, at which point its whole funding model will be reassessed.
The number of UK households choosing not to pay for a television licence rose from 1.5 million to 1.7 million in 2020, as competition from online streaming services grows.