INSIGHT

How BBC News is covering the UK General Election

29th May 2024
Combatting disinformation, engaging audiences, and transparency are just some of pledges from the BBC to the public ahead of the UK General Election. 
BBC News mobile app interface
BBC news mobile app interface on smartphone screen. Credit: PixieMe / Shutterstock.com

This Insight was originally published on the BBC.


By Deborah Turness, CEO of BBC News

As we begin the BBC’s general election coverage, we have one thing on our minds above all else – the voters. This is your choice. Our job is to provide you with the information you need to make up your own mind.

Unlike some media, the BBC cannot, does not and will not pick sides in the election. We are here for everyone, however you cast your ballot. Because it’s not our job to tell people what to think or who to vote for.

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We will strive to serve all of our audiences, however they’re consuming news and however they will vote. We want to be useful – and used. Trusted to deliver for everyone. And we know that your trust is earned – so during this election campaign our pledge to you is that we will work even harder to earn it.

Over the coming days we’ll be rolling out some exciting new features and innovations, and announcing details of our line-up for election night itself, but I wanted to use this opportunity to share what we’ll be doing to respond to what you – our audiences – have told us you need from us.

Elections can be chaotic and confusing, with so many claims and counter-claims. We will work through the noise to bring you clarity on the important issues. And we know that disinformation will be a factor like never before, so BBC Verify will be there with the tools to separate fact from fake.

An election campaign is never plain sailing and we know that the BBC’s journalism will come under attack. We will be accused of political bias – from all sides. We ourselves will be the target of disinformation. Examples of our perceived bias will be served up across social platforms, often completely out of context.

PODCAST: How are public media covering elections? 

But none of that will stop us from listening and constantly asking ourselves whether we are getting it right. And during a six-week campaign, with the hundreds of hours of programmes we will broadcast, and the thousands of words we will publish, it’s inevitable we will make mistakes. And when we do we will hold our hands up to them, we will correct them, and we will transparently explain.

We will work to deliver that same transparency in all of our journalism. We’ve asked our journalists to not just tell you what we know, but how we know it – and, just as importantly, what we don’t know. To “pull back the curtain” on the work we all do behind the scenes to ensure that the BBC’s journalism meets the high standards set by our editorial guidelines.

As Britain’s public service broadcaster, we pledge to be that place – where everyone has a voice – on whatever platform they use.

You’ve told us that the more you know about how we do our work, the more you can trust it. If you know how it’s made, you can trust what it says. So we will show we’ve heard you by placing transparency at the heart of what we do.

But we need something from you too. What are the big issues that are impacting your life that politicians need to know about? What are the questions you need answered? More than ever before we will be inviting you to tell us the answers so we can be sure that we are reflecting the priorities of voters across the country. So look out for invitations to participate in programmes and to help inform our journalism so we can do the best job of working on your behalf.

The BBC has another important job, and that is to bring people together. In an increasingly fragmented world of social media echo chambers, where algorithms serve people more and more content that reflects their own point of view, it’s vital we have a shared space where we can listen to each other and – yes – agree to disagree. As Britain’s public service broadcaster, we pledge to be that place – where everyone has a voice – on whatever platform they use.

We are the UK’s most trusted news organisation, and I want you to know that we are here, working hard during this election, to earn your trust and deliver what you need – so you can make your own choice.


About the author

Deborah Turness is the CEO of BBC News and Current Affairs.

It was originally published on the BBC.