People are questioning whether the BBC’s ban on supporting campaigns includes the red poppy

Joe Glenton

BBC staff might be banned from attending Pride events and ‘virtue signalling’ because of confusing new rules on staff conduct. People are now asking if this means that the red poppy will also be outlawed by the channel.

BBC director general Tim Davie reportedly introduced the guidance on 29 October. It appears to suggest that attending major LGBTQI+ events like Pride and anti-racism protests like Black Lives Matter could damage impartiality.

Emojis in tweets should also be avoided, and stories should be broken through official channels rather than personal accounts, according to the new code.

In an email obtained by Press Gazette, Davis said:

Trust is the foundation of the BBC’s relationship with the public.  How employees of the BBC conduct themselves is vital to maintaining trust. The materials published today will help ensure employees uphold and protect the highest standards of BBC impartiality and maintain the trust audiences expect, demand and deserve.

The new BBC guidelines state:

Following social media accounts which reflect only one point of view on matters of public policy, politics or ‘controversial subjects’ may create a similar impression

Press Gazette reported that rules allowing the wearing of a red poppy for Remembrance Day, however, would remain. But there was no explanation for how that squared with the new rule about ‘politics’ and ‘controversial subjects’.

Free pass

The red poppy is seen as controversial by some, including those from Irish Republican backgrounds who reject British rule.

One Twitter user pointed out that the Poppy Appeal could easily be included in the new definition:

Another asked why the poppy got a “free pass”:

Others asked what the response might be if the issue was raised:

Wearing a white poppy might be a good test, one Twitter user said:

The new rules, then, seem more like the opinion of a BBC boss. So much for impartiality.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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