Section 5: Harm and Offence - Mandatory ReferralsSection 5.2
Mandatory Referrals are part of the BBC’s editorial management system. They are an essential part of the process to ensure compliance and must be observed.
5.2.1 Programmes broadcast on UK television between 5.30am and 9pm must be suitable for a general audience including children. The earlier in the evening a programme is placed, the more suitable it should be for children to watch without an older person. Programmes in later pre-watershed slots may not be suitable for the youngest children or for children to watch without an older person.
Only in exceptional circumstances can there be any departure from this practice, and then clear content information should be given. Any proposed exceptions must be referred to the channel controller/editor.
5.2.2 Any proposal to use the strongest language (cunt, motherfucker and fuck or its derivatives) must be referred to and approved by the relevant channel controller/editor, who should consider the editorial justification. Editorial Policy may also be consulted.
5.2.3 Strong editorial justification will be required on the rare occasions we broadcast graphic scenes of bullfighting, cockfighting and other similar activities, even if they are recorded in countries where they are legal. Any proposal to do so must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independent production companies, to the commissioning editor.
5.2.4 Any proposal to show a hanging scene, portray suicide, attempted suicide or self-harm requires careful consideration because of the sensitivity of the subject and the possibility of dangerous imitation and must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independent production companies, to the commissioning editor. Referral must also be made to Editorial Policy.
5.2.5 Any proposal to feature a demonstration of hypnosis must be referred to a senior editorial figure or, for independent production companies, to the commissioning editor.
5.2.6 Any proposal to include flashing images or strobing sequences in recorded programmes which fail the Transmission Review technical checks must be approved by the relevant output controller.
5.2.7 We must not use any techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred ie subliminally. Such techniques could include images of very brief duration.
Anyone who has reason to believe their content might contain such a technique must refer to a senior editorial figure or, for independent production companies, to the commissioning editor, who may wish to consult Editorial Policy.