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DUP man urges BBC staff to 'be careful' when airing their views on social media

By Chris McCullough

BBC employees should be "exceptionally careful" when using social media ensuring not to mix up their personal thoughts with remaining impartial on various topics, a senior DUP man has warned.

Gregory Campbell has spoken out following two recent incidents when one BBC journalist tweeted a criticism of Translink and a second claimed that the PSNI were "failing" to take control of the drugs situation in Belfast.

The East Londonderry Westminster candidate said BBC staff should not breach their own guidelines.

"There is a balance needed here," he said. "Everyone has a right to their personal viewpoint on topics.

"The BBC has guidelines drawn up to ensure there never is a case where an employee tweets and involves themselves in a case of public concern or even worse draws the BBC into the discussion. Every journalist within the BBC should be aware of the corporation's guidelines and should not breach them.

"The general public would be concerned if BBC employees habitually voiced their own personal views on topics, views which may not be shared by their employer. They should be exceptionally careful when using social media," said Mr Campbell.

BBC guidelines state: "Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC - they can have a significant impact on perceptions of whether due impartiality has been achieved.

"Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC output the personal prejudices of our journalists or news and current affairs presenters on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or on 'controversial subjects' in any other area. They may provide professional judgements, rooted in evidence, but may not express personal views in BBC output, including online, on such matters."

A BBC NI spokeswoman added: "We encourage editorial staff to exercise discretion in their use of social media and having regard to relevant guidelines."

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