Introduction to BBC News
History of BBC News
The Hutton Report
BBC Director-Generals
BBC News 24/Interactive
The Future of BBC News
About the Author

Introduction to BBC News

Since its inaugural broadcast in 1954, BBC News has become the largest producer of television news in the world, providing 100 hours of daily news coverage, and is today relied upon by millions as the trusted face of current affairs.

It has been shown time and again, during major crises such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and July 7, 2005 that the BBC is the first place people turn to for objective, honest, up-to-date domestic and international news, and studies show that no news provider can command an audience share to compare with the BBC during major world events.

The licence fee that makes the BBC the richest media organisation in the world gives it near 100% penetration in UK homes where one or more televisions are owned.

Royal Charter

A key determinant of the reputation held by BBC News for impartiality and objectivity is its official charter, which requires it to be free from political and commercial influence, and states that the BBC is answerable only to its viewers and listeners.

 

 

In practice, this is often questioned and the BBC is repeatedly accused by government of bias towards the opposition, and vice versa. During times of war, allegations of favouring enemy forces are often levelled at the BBC, and its unwillingness to use the term ‘terrorist’ leads critics to question the allegiance of BBC News.

Political influence on BBC News

Prominent BBC appointments are assessed by the media and political establishment for signs of political bias.

The recent drafting in of Nick Robinson from ITN as political editor was a particularly contentious decision.

Robinson has been accused of displaying political bias in favour of the Conservative Party, and was indeed chair of the Young Conservatives while studying at university.

The naming of a journalist with such overt views as political editor would seem to sit uncomfortably within the BBC’s stated policy of political impartiality, but it must be recalled that Robinson replaced Andrew Marr, a former editor of The Independent and member of the Labour Party.

'BBC News aspires to be the world’s most trusted news organisation: independent, impartial and honest. It aims to be truthful and fair, offering journalism that explores multiple viewpoints and gives voice to a wide range of opinions. BBC News seeks to act in the public interest and to resist pressure from political parties, lobby groups or commercial interests.'

- BBC News Remit

 

BBC News homepage

Wikipedia - BBC News

BBC Royal Charter

Medialens - The Independent interview with Nick Robinson

All pictures courtesy of bbc.co.uk