Chris Packham using the BBC to promote his political view of shooting and wildlife conservation

Simon Williams made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Y Gorfforaeth Ddarlledu Brydeinig

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Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Y Gorfforaeth Ddarlledu Brydeinig.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

I am a BBC licence fee payer and I am pleased to see that the new Director General, Tim Davie, realises the need to reaffirm the BBC as an impartial broadcaster. This is important to avoid bias in an increasingly polarised news landscape.

One presenter who often appears on BBC TV and radio channels is the wildlife presenter, Chris Packham and it seems he is given free reign to express his opinion on contentious aspects of the country way of life. Whilst he has much to be proud of in his efforts to support wildlife, his opinions / views on some aspects of how the countryside should be managed are often inaccurate or politically motivated. He is rarely impartial and yet is given a national platform upon which to present only his view on contentious issues. This cannot be right.

The BBC has previously acquiesced to Chris Packham and not taken issue with his founding of a political lobbying group ‘Wild Justice’ ie A BBC spokesperson “Chris Packham is an established and respected naturalist in his own right and is not solely employed by the BBC. He may express personal views outside of his employment on BBC Natural History Programmes.” Really?

In light of the new guidance, please confirm that Chris Packham, like other presenters who are paid for their BBC activities through limited companies, is covered under these new BBC rules, and that his overt campaigning must cease if he is continuing to accept BBC licence payers funds, directly or indirectly. Impartial must mean impartial.

Yours faithfully,

Simon Williams

FOI Enquiries, Y Gorfforaeth Ddarlledu Brydeinig

Dear Simon Williams

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 06 November 2020. We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20201738.

Kind regards,

Information Rights

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP
Email: [BBC request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd J Flynn anodiad ()

Interesting one this, but I think the requestor will find that a) as Chris Packham is freelance and not a BBC employee he is not bound to be impartial, b) as he is not involved in any news or political output his personal views would be classified as not unduly affecting the BBC's overall commitment to impartiality and c) section 4 of the BBC's editorial guidelines allow for just such conditions.

Also, there is a widespread misconception that the BBC is required to be impartial in ALL of its output when according to section 4 of the guidelines "It does not require absolute neutrality on every issue". If the requestor's interpretation of the rules was correct then a great many programmes (e.g. Have I Got News For You) would simply not be on air.

For anyone interested in the editorial guidelines:

FOI Enquiries, Y Gorfforaeth Ddarlledu Brydeinig

2 Atodiad

Dear Simon Williams,


Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20201738.


Yours sincerely,


Information Rights


BBC Freedom of Information

BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TP


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Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

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