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BBC news chief: Interviewing is not platforming

Viewers have been reminded they will hear range of views they may disagree with.

The BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth (Victoria Jones)
The BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth (Victoria Jones)

By Craig Simpson, PA

BBC director of news Fran Unsworth has reminded viewers that “interviewing is not platforming” and audiences will have their beliefs challenged.

The news chief has told audiences to expect a range of opinions and political persuasions to be given air time by the corporation.

Ms Unsworth has reiterated that airing these political opinions is not an endorsement of them, and the BBC will not seek to create a false balance in its General Election reporting.

Everyone will hear people on BBC News they don’t agree with

In her blog the director wrote: “Interviewing is not ‘platforming’ and reporting someone’s words isn’t an endorsement of what they’ve said.”

The BBC announced that Huw Edwards will lead election coverage on the night of December 12, following in the footsteps of David Dimbleby.

Ms Unsworth has addressed viewers online to reassure them that the corporation will be fair in its reporting, and audiences should expect a range of views.

The news boss also stated that the BBC will not create false balance, but will make objective judgments.

She wrote: “We have one simple priority over the next few weeks – our audiences.

“They have a wide range of views, and political allegiances, and we are here to serve all of them, wherever they live, whatever they think, and however they choose to vote.

“It means everyone will hear people on BBC News they don’t agree with, and opinions they don’t share. It means we can’t – and don’t – take political sides.

“Our aim is to achieve due impartiality. That means understanding that not all issues are ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’.

“We do not support ‘false balance’. There are facts and there are judgments to be made. And we will make them where that is appropriate.”

Ms Unsworth has cited Ofcom research indicating that audiences tended to shy away from spaces or programmes which will see their opinions challenged.

PA

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