Tuesday, 02 April 2013 20:59

BBC faces 'rural impartiality' review

Written by  Ruralcity Media
BBC faces 'rural impartiality' review

The impartiality of the BBC's coverage of rural areas of the UK is to be examined by a special review.

Announced as part of the BBC Trust's annual work plan, it is the latest in a rolling programme of impartiality reviews.

The reviews are  looking at different aspects of the BBC's output, in line with the trust's responsibility to "do all it can" to ensure the impartiality of the BBC.

The rural review will be independently authored and will examine news and current affairs, including in the UK's nations, along with factual programming.

It is expected to begin work this summer. It will include content analysis and audience research, and submissions will be invited from the BBC Executive and interested stakeholders.

Further work on the scope of the review will now be carried out and the terms of reference will be published when it launches later this year.

BBC Trustee Alison Hastings said: "More than two thirds of the UK's landscape is rural, and rural issues affect many areas of all our lives.

"The BBC exists to serve the whole of the UK and we'll be looking for evidence that the BBC is reflecting these communities and their issues, and that it is achieving the high standards of impartiality which audiences expect."

The trust work plan is published each year and sets out key projects and areas of work currently planned for the forthcoming year.

Other projects included in this year's work plan include service reviews of BBC One, Two, Three and Four and BBC News.

Terms of reference and lead author for the impartiality review on rural areas in the UK will be published when the review launches in the summer.

The review is expected to conclude in summer 2014.

The BBC's rural coverage was last reviewed in 2003 by the trust's predecessor, the BBC Governors.

A summary of their findings was published in the 2003/04 BBC Annual Report which can be found here.

The review of coverage of rural areas of the UK is the sixth impartiality review carried out by the Trust.

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