Entertainment & Arts

BBC Trust issues impartiality follow-up

Former ITV chief Stuart Prebble has been asked to lead an independent review into BBC impartiality.

The BBC Trust has commissioned a follow-up review to John Bridcut's 2007 report From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel.

The report explored the breadth of opinion prompted by technological and social change and set out 12 principles to protect against biased reporting.

Prebble's review will look at the implementation of Bridcut recommendations by the BBC.

"John Bridcut's 2007 report set a new standard for achieving impartiality - likening it to a 'wagon wheel' of opinions rather than the traditional 'see-saw' of left versus right," said Alison Hastings, Chair of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee.

"Five years on, it's the right time to check up on the BBC's progress. Stuart Prebble's distinguished career in broadcasting, both as a programme-maker and as a CEO, puts him in an ideal position to take an informed view on how the BBC has responded to Bridcut's challenge."

'Fresh perspective'

Prebble, who left ITV in 2002, said he was "delighted to lead this important study".

"Having spent most of my career outside the BBC I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to examine how well the commitment to breadth of voice - which is unique to the BBC - is being met."

The 2007 impartiality report was written by independent programme maker Bridcut at the request of the then board of governors.

At the time, the BBC said the 12 principles would be complementary to its existing editorial guidelines on impartiality and would not replace them.

"We recognise that, as audience behaviours change and the media landscape develops rapidly, the BBC has to keep asking itself how best to safeguard impartiality in this digital age," said the BBC's then deputy director-general Mark Byford.

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