BBC quits Stonewall diversity scheme over impartiality concerns

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11/10/2021

The BBC has quit a diversity programme run by the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, saying it believes coverage of transgender issues should be considered an impartiality topic that requires the inclusion of critical voices. The national broadcaster said it would no longer be a member of the Diversity Champions programme, under which the corporation paid Stonewall for ongoing advice and assessments on creating inclusive workplaces. The BBC director general, Tim Davie, told staff it was “unquestionable” that its ongoing participation in the scheme “has led some organisations and individuals to consider that the BBC cannot be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active, campaigning, role”. He made clear that the BBC’s journalism had not been compromised by the involvement. He said: “While I do not think that our journalism has been influenced by our involvement in the Diversity Champions programme, not renewing our involvement is the correct move at this time to minimise the risk of perceived bias and avoid any perception that engagement with the programme is influencing our own decision-making.” Stonewall said it was a shame the BBC had chosen to withdraw and added that “many of the arguments against trans people today are simply recycled homophobia from the 80s and 90s”.

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