In my blog on Sunday I referred to the fact that the Equality Bill ban on discrimination, victimisation and harassment will not apply in relation to broadcasting output. I suggested that the BBC uses the sacred cow of 'editorial independence' as a shield. At about 10.15pm last night Vera Baird, the Solicitor-General, spoke about the broadcasters' exemption.
Vera Baird: Let me turn briefly to broadcasting. Amendments 91 and 109 amend schedules 3 and 24, in response to broadcasters’ concerns, simply to make it clear that nothing in the Bill is intended to undermine their editorial independence. The amendments put it beyond doubt that the services and public functions provisions do not apply to broadcasting and distribution of content services.
Bill Cash asked: On the question of the editorial matters of the BBC, is the Minister satisfied that the rules regarding editorial policy embodied in the Charter and in the Guidelines adequately provide the degree of impartiality that is necessary in our present-day democracy? Does she think, perhaps, that the editorial policy needs to be tightened up?