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Stonewall responds as BBC quits LGBTQ Diversity Champions scheme

The state broadcaster announced it was leaving the programme over impartiality concerns yesterday

2021-11-11

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: wiki

Stonewall has issued a statement following the BBC exiting its Diversity Champions programme.

On its website, the LGBTQ charity describes the programme as 'the leading employers' programme for ensuring all LGBTQ+ staff are free to be themselves in the workplace.'

The BBC - Britain's state broadcaster - confirmed it was leaving the scheme yesterday over impartiality concerns.

A BBC spokesperson said [as per i]: “The BBC is fully committed to being an industry-leading employer on LGBTQ+ inclusion. We are proud of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans colleagues and we support them to have fulfilling careers at the BBC.

“Along with many other UK employers, the BBC has participated in Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme to support our objective to create a fully inclusive workplace.

“However, over time our participation in the programme has led some to question whether the BBC can be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active role.

“Being a part of the Diversity Champions Programme has never required the BBC to support the campaigns of Stonewall, nor its policy positions. As a broadcaster, we have our own values and editorial standards – these are clearly set out and published in our Editorial Guidelines.

“We are also governed by the Royal Charter and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. Our journalists continue, as ever, to report a full range of perspectives on stories.

“Although the BBC will not be renewing its participation in the Diversity Champions Programme, in the future we will continue to work with a range of external organisations, including Stonewall, on relevant projects to support our LGBTQ+ staff.”

"Organisations come and go"

Yesterday, a rep for Stonewall's press team said: "It’s a shame that the BBC has decided not to renew their membership of our Diversity Champions programme, but as with all membership programmes, organisations come and go depending on what’s best for their inclusion journey at the time.

"We will continue to engage with the BBC on a number of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting. We will continue to engage with the BBC on a number of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting."