Section 4.4.13 of the BBC’s editorial guidelines on impartiality states:
“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.”
Additionally, the BBC’s editorial guidelines on “Social Networking and Other Third Party Websites (including Blogs, Microblogs and Personal Webspace): Personal Use” include the following:
“…when someone clearly identifies their association with the BBC and/or discusses their work, they are expected to behave appropriately when on the Internet, and in ways that are consistent with the BBC’s editorial values and policies.”
“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC. For example, News and Current Affairs staff should not: […] advocate any particular position on an issue of current public controversy or debate.”
Not for the first time (see ‘related articles’ below) a clearly identified BBC employee – who describes his position as “BBC News Arabic service producer in Israel and the West Bank” – has allowed himself to “advocate” a “particular position on an issue of current public controversy or debate” on social media, thereby contradicting the BBC’s editorial guidelines and compromising its impartiality.
Clearly that Tweet from Michael Shuval certainly does have an impact on public perceptions of impartiality in BBC reporting on that legislation.