The BBC has announced it is no longer subscribing to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme over fears that it will interfere with its impartiality.
The corporation announced that while it would continue to work with a range of organisations to support its LGBT+ staff, they are not renewing the charity’s service, which provides advice to employers on diversity and inclusion.
‘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.’
The statement continued: ‘After careful consideration, we believe it is time to step back from the Diversity Champions Programme and will also no longer participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.
‘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.’
‘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,’ a spokesperson for Stonewall said.
‘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,’ a spokesperson for Stonewall said.
‘This news comes in the wake of organised attacks on workplace inclusion that extend far beyond the Diversity Champions programme. It is shocking that organisations are being pressured into rolling back support for LGBTQ+ employees.’
More than 900 organisations in the UK have signed up to the scheme, which aims to promote inclusion in the workplace.
It was described by Stonewall as ‘the leading employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBTQ+ staff are free to be themselves in the workplace’.
Media watchdog Ofcom previously announced that it had withdrawn from the programme, saying that taking part ‘poses a conflict or risk of perceived bias’.
Credit: Original article published here.