BBC bosses have told their journalists not to back specific anti-racism campaigns like Black Lives Matter.

The full email sent to staff is below.


Dear all,

The killing of George Floyd continues to affect many of us. The aftermath of the killing has reverberated not just in the USA, but in the UK too - and caused us to consider some uncomfortable truths about our own history, how BAME colleagues feel about living in the UK and how they feel about the BBC.

These are not new issues of course and there is enormous frustration about the time that it's taken to address them.

In BBC News, we have a responsibility to help everyone understand the context, what's happened, and the consequences. Our output has been challenging and evocative, and it's led to many questions.

A number of these questions go to the heart of how we practice our journalism in BBC News. Are our editorial values, which are based on due impartiality, outdated? Do they allow us to tell the truth?

The BBC is not neutral on racism - it's something we've been very clear about. We deplore it and call it out where we see it - as we have done in our reporting of events in the US.

Our opposition to racism is a fundamental democratic principle - and so is consistent with the BBC's editorial guidelines. However, once opposition to racism becomes aligned with a particular campaign, we begin to express a view about what the response to racism should be. And this gets us into areas where we have to be impartial.

It's not that we can't have opinions - it's just that we can't express them in ways that can be identified by audiences. For News journalists, it means we can't publicly support campaigns, whether through social media, articles, speeches or by attending demonstrations.

It's not easy, but it means that we retain audience confidence in our ability to be impartial. And that impartiality is central to the incredibly high levels of trust that the public have in us. It's also especially important in the case of the BBC, where ocr funding comes from the people.

READ MORE: BBC bosses tell journalists they can't back Black Lives Matter campaign

Our editorial guidelines help our journalists put this into practice. It also protects our journalists, who in many countries, might otherwise be at the mercy of governments who would like them to report events as they see them. In those instances, our journalists can point to the BBC's editorial guidelines.

Impartiality doesn't mean that we're without emotion - but we can illuminate through dispassionate reporting and use it to highlight injustice in a way that is incredibly powerful. We have done it throughout our history, from Richard Di mbleby covering liberation of Belsen, through Charles Wheeler reporting on the US civil rights movement in the 1960s, our coverage of apartheid in South Africa and Kate Adie in Tiananmen Square.

We have also done it in the last few weeks as well. For instance, Rianna CroxforJ and Chi Chi Izundu have provided some very powerful coverage and context on the Black Lives Matters protests. Clive Myrie has gone in to depth on the history of the US police; while Reeta Chakrabarti has done some excellent reporting on 'Rhodes Must Fall.'