BBC impartiality rules review reignites Packham row

A long-standing row over whether Chris Packham should be subject to BBC impartiality rules has been reignited by the broadcaster’s new review of the guidelines.

The independent appraisal, commissioned in the wake of Gary Lineker’s comments on the government’s migrant policy, will have a particular focus on freelancers outside news and current affairs.

Presenter and campaigner Chris Packham, who is a freelance, has been the subject of a series of complaints during his time working for the BBC.

See also: Countryside workers in protest at Chris Packham

In 2016, the BBC Trust ruled Mr Packham was not required to abide by editorial guidelines because he was freelance and a recurrent, not a regular, presenter. He worked for the broadcaster for 119 days in the previous year.

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “For years, the BBC has fudged the issue of freelance presenters and who its impartiality rules apply to.

“Its decisions often seemed to relate more to the profile of individual presenters and the views they were espousing, rather than applying any consistent set of standards. Any review must provide absolute clarity on what the rules are and who they apply to.

“The alliance has always argued that people do not differentiate between BBC presenters on the basis of how they are remunerated and that the same rules should apply to all.”


See more