Gary Lineker back on MOTD as BBC announces social media policy review
Gary Lineker will be back on air this weekend after the BBC announced a review of its social media guidance following a dispute with its star sports presenter over his online comments.
Lineker, who is a freelance outside news and current affairs, had been off air since last week after he criticised the government’s handling of the migrant crisis.
Gary Lineker had been told to step back from presenting Match of the Day until an agreement is reached on his social media use.
“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles. The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate,” the statement by BBC’s Director-General Tim Davie read.
The row sparked a debate over the BBC’s social media policy and its application to different types of staff and contributors.
Davie said he apologised for the confusion caused by the “grey areas” of the guidance and wanted to get matters resolved.
He said the BBC had commissioned an independent expert to review the existing social media guidance, with a focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs.
He further added that impartiality and freedom of expression were both important to the BBC and the public, but acknowledged that it was a difficult balancing act to get right.
“Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place,” he said.
Lineker welcomed the review and said he was glad that they had found a way forward. He said he supported the BBC and looked forward to presenting its coverage this weekend.