In Brief

New BBC chief warns of Twitter crackdown amid plans for slimmed-down broadcaster

Director-general Tim Davie says ‘campaigners’ not welcome at the corporation

BBC journalists who want to carry out “partisan campaigns” on social media should hand in their notice, the broadcaster’s new director-general said yesterday.

Tim Davie “used a speech on just his third day in the job to crack down on ‘political bias’ and warn staff who broke impartiality rules that they were not wanted at the corporation”, The Telegraph reports.

“If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC,” Davie told his employees.

His speech was met with a “deafening silence by BBC staff, many of whom seem to have taken a recent sabbatical from social media”, says The Guardian columnist Jane Martinson. 

Although Davie “didn’t name names”, Martinson continues, “some of the corporation’s most prolific tweeters – such as its media editor, Amol Rajan, and political editor, Laura Kuenssberg – have been very quiet on the platform recently”.

The broadcaster’s new boss also warned of a “jobs purge, after admitting staff numbers had increased over the past three years, and called for a 20% cut in programme-making to improve quality”, adds The Telegraph.

According to Martinson, the speech “was a pitch to outsiders – and it had to be”.

“With a hostile government and a difficult market, the BBC needs all of its licence fee payers if it is to survive,” she adds. “Not just the young, not just in London, not just the rich.”

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