Roger Mosey ex-head BBC TV News, claims that the BBC’s youth journalists lack the proper training in order to instill impartiality.

  • Former executive says some BBC journalists, especially young ones, don’t get impartiality
  • Roger Mosey ex-head BBC news said impartiality was no longer “imbued” 
  • ‘They haven’t in some cases had the right training,’ Mr Mosey told House of Lords

According to one former executive of BBC, some young journalists are unable to understand impartiality because it isn’t ‘imbued in’ them like previous generations.

Roger Mosey (ex-head of BBC TV News) appeared today before the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee to talk about impartiality in journalism.

In evidence Mr Mosey mentioned Sir Nicholas Serota’s October report, in which he noted that there was an “opportunity” for the BBC leadership to address impartiality.

He told the committee: ‘It’s quite interesting to work back from the Serota report, to the question which I think Tim Davie as director general is rightly addressing. 

‘So the challenge to impartiality is the fact that some younger journalists don’t understand it in the way it was classically imbued in BBC journalists over the years.

‘There’s no particular reason why they should, because they haven’t in some cases had the right training.’

Former head off BBC television news, Roger Mosey,

Roger Mosey was the former head of BBC TV News, 

Mosey claimed that modern journalists have found it more challenging to determine impartiality due to social media pressures.

He added: ‘The external definition of due impartiality has broadened, so Ofcom seems to have allowed originally LBC, which is a great radio station, but now GB News [also]to be impartial with an interpretation that is slightly different to what they might have done 10 or 15% years ago

‘The other thing is there has unquestionably been some impact in the BBC from identity politics and the absolutely proper concern about diversity within the BBC, which then sometimes rubs against diversity of opinion externally; and provides more challenges for journalists.’

Professor Richard Sambrook, a former director of global news, also gave evidence before today's House of Lords' Digital and Communications Committee

Richard Sambrook (ex-director of global news) also presented evidence today before the House of Lords Digital and Communications Committee

An ex-executive at BBC Professor Richard Sambrook, now director of journalism at Cardiff University, outlined the challenges around impartiality earlier in the hearing.

Prof Sambrook said: ‘It’s widely misunderstood in public debate of being about false balance or covering up your opinions – a bland he-said she-said journalism. 

‘But actually impartiality properly employed is the reverse of that – it’s a set of professional disciplines to elevate your journalism beyond personal bias and beyond those kinds of problems. But that’s not very well understood generally.

It becomes easier and more enjoyable when it is broken down into its components; this is what we mean with impartiality. Accuracy? Fairness? Evidence-based? Different points of view Transparency? 

“When these are broken down, you will be able to start engaging with them …’ 

After Lord Dyson’s damning report on Martin Bashir’s interview in 1995 Panorama with Diana Princess of Wales, the BBC Board commissioned the Serota Review.

The BBC received 10 recommendations from the review, which included the expansion of impartiality training within the company.

It recommends that the BBC’s board oversee impartiality by monitoring metrics such as editorial complaints.

In a statement, the broadcaster stated that it had accepted all the findings of the review and announced “sweeping changes” to improve standards throughout the organization and contest claims of bias. 

The Serota Files – Ten tips for BBC

 1. These reviews focus on output in key areas that are relevant to public debate. They ensure that all voices and perspectives are represented.

2. BBC Editorial Policy Team will have more accountability. The BBC also has internal review of content in order to evaluate whether it conforms to the organisation’s editorial standards.

3. Simple procedures to handle internal investigations

4. Here’s more information on how the BBC deals with accelerated editorial complaints regarding broadcast and published content

5. Monitoring such “impartiality indicators” as editorial complaints and staff training. Audience perception. Demographic data.

6. Broadening the use of BBC editorial guidelines to all BBC staff “more visible and easier to understand”

7.  Two non-BBC experts were appointed as members of the Editorial Guidelines Committee and its Standards Committee.

8.  Expanding BBC’s impartiality-training to freelances, new recruits at all levels

9. Adopting new measures to improve transparency both internally and externally Adopting a new editorial policy on whistleblowing policy

10. Managers are tasked with making sure that all audiences in the UK see both on- and offscreen