New BBC Boss Tells Staff Not to Air Their Political Views on Social Media

Published September 20th, 2020 - 06:56 GMT
Director-General Tim Davie (Twitter)
Director-General Tim Davie (Twitter)
"I do think the bar is higher for current affairs and news," he added.

New BBC Director-General Tim Davie has told staff not to air political views on social media when he started the job earlier this month and confirmed that new social media guidelines for the staffers would be released in the coming weeks.

Davie said journalists' use of social media is a cause for concern when it comes to impartiality, which he said was a "bedrock" for the corporation, Press Gazette reported.

"Impartiality is the bedrock of the BBC. It's utterly critical that looking forward people have total trust in the BBC. When you join the BBC, you know, you leave your party politics at the door," Davie said.

"I do think the bar is higher for current affairs and news," he added.

He also said he would not ban BBC journalists from using social media, but that the new guidelines would be about "making sure what people are doing on social media is helping us" in terms of maintaining impartiality.

BBC star Gary Lineker takes pay cut 

The BBC's top earner Gary Lineker agreed to use social media responsibly and taken a pay-cut as the British broadcaster's new boss seeks to maintain trust in the body, whose publicly-funded model has been questioned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Former England soccer player Lineker has attracted scrutiny from the broadcaster's critics for both his high pay package and his outspoken political views on social media that often criticise the government.

Davie said Lineker understood his social media responsibilities in agreeing on a new 5-year contract, which will see him take a 23 percent pay cut.

Lineker was paid around 1.75 million pounds ($2.20 million), the BBC's annual report in the financial year to March 31 showed on Tuesday, making him its highest-paid personality.

Lineker's pay-cut comes as the organisation's bosses also seek to cut headcount among senior management.

The number of senior managers earning over 150,000 pounds ($194,274) rose to over 100, the BBC's annual report showed, and BBC Chairman David Clementi said that the coronavirus crisis meant that the broadcaster had to save an extra 125 million pounds ($161.31 million).

The BBC said it had made continued progress on closing the gender pay gap, with a 55:45 split for men and women paid over 150,000 pounds ($194,274), compared to a 75:25 gap in 2016/17. 

The gender pay gap is now 6.2 percent, from 6.7 percent last year.

This article has been adapted from its original source.     

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