BBC employees are likely to see closer scrutiny of what they post on social media by the corporation when new guidelines come into effect ‘imminently’ the new top boss has noted.
“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. We will have, within those guidelines, the enforcement policies will be very clear.” – BBC DG Tim Davie
The changes may even see Beeb staff’s Twitter accounts suspended under new guidelines that are due to be issued by the corporation, new director-general Tim Davie has said.
Speaking at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee Davie revealed that the social media rules would cover all staff but in particular, those working in the news and current affairs department that has to be seen to be impartial.
Tim Davie recently took over from Tony Hall and faced several issues including the controversy over Gary Lineker’s pay and Twitter postings, the dropping of Rule Brittannia from BBC Proms and the Defund the BBC movement that is gaining ground with their campaign to end the licence fee. The BBC has warned that switching to a civil system for the licence fee could lose the corporation more than £200 million a year if viewers were not forced to pay for the service whether they watch the channels or not.
“We will be able to take disciplinary action. We will be able to take people off Twitter. I know people want to see hard action on this… If they want to work for the BBC, I can ask people, you would suspend their Twitter account, absolutely.”
“Those responsibilities will be clearly laid out and my belief is, as I say, I am now the director-general so I am running the show, and in my view party political statements are not the right thing for people to be making if they are, as part of an impartial news organisation.
“I mean, we will come back with social media guidelines to make clear where the lines are. If someone is a face of the BBC I think entering into party politics seems to be not the right place to be and I’ve been very clear about that. The good thing is I will be making that even clearer as I go through my social media guidelines.”