THE BBC has withdrawn from LGBT charity Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, saying its journalism “must be impartial and reflect a range of views”.

The scheme sees the BBC and other organisations pay to be a member and receive advice on providing inclusive workplaces.

Director-general Tim Davie said he did not think the broadcaster’s output had been “influenced” by Diversity Champions, but said renewing the membership would not be “the correct move at this time to minimise the risk of perceived bias”.

The announcement, reported by The Guardian, comes after the BBC had to edit an article about lesbians feeling pressured into sex with transgender women, when one of the key sources later appeared to call for the execution of trans women.

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The BBC is one of several bodies and organisations to withdraw from the Stonewall programme – Ofcom has already left, alongside a number of UK Government departments.

In a statement this summer, the media watchdog said: "As the communications regulator, an important part of our responsibility is to ensure we remain impartial and independent at all times.

"Our commitment to supporting the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people is as strong as ever."

Now Davie has told staff: “Some have asked me whether the BBC needs to be ‘impartial on trans people’s lives’. I want to be clear, our impartiality is infused with democratic values and we are not impartial on human rights. In simple terms, what that means is that we don’t condone or support discrimination in any form.”

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However he went on: “Our editorial guidelines are also clear: when reporting on policy debates, our journalism must be impartial and reflect a range of views. I want our reporting to cover a range of topics and different perspectives, to help our audiences understand and engage with the world around them.”

In response Stonewall said “many of the arguments against trans people today are simply recycled homophobia from the 80s and 90s”.

And trade union Bectu said the move would be “incredibly damaging to the morale of the LGBT workforce and will negatively impact the BBC’s ability to attract talent in the future”.