MediaCityUK: Investigations and Secret Recording Guidance

The Beeb has revised its Editorial Policy on Investigations and on Secret Recording for programme makers planning: larger-scale investigations to reveal serious
anti-social behaviour or crime, with a significant element of undercover work,
and secret recording, central to the evidence-gathering. The revision was undertaken after the BBC Trust upheld a complaint against a section of undercover footage in Panorama: Primark on the Rack, and is based on the best practice learned by BBC investigative programmes over the years.  It emphasises the need for note taking and record keeping that will authenticate  material and to plan for the scrutiny and challenge that can often follow a successful investigation. There is also new advice on the operation of undercover journalists. In addition, extra care and checks may be necessary when an investigation is carried out by a journalist with a demonstrable commitment to a relevant cause – to ensure the methods will be able to withstand robust scrutiny. You can read and download the Investigations guidance here.  The newly revised Secret Recording guidanceis relevant to anyone looking to gather material secretly, and includes a new section on authentication of material. The Secret Recording guidance is here. (extract from BBC Editorial Policy News Letter Oct 2011)

About JS

John Stonborough FCIPR specialises in media relations, providing an authoritative and discreet advocacy to corporate and private clients world-wide. He specialises in handling the hostile media and media regulation. He is known for observing "An interview is no time for an original thought." He is the great-nephew of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. His working career began as a London policeman and then as a reporter for the Daily Mail, BBC Radio 4, Thames Television and Channel 4 TV. From 2001 to 2004 he was The Media Advisor to the House of Commons Commission. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He is married and lives in London, England.
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