A publication of the World Editors Forum


Mon - 11.12.2017

BBC clarifies use of social media photography

BBC clarifies use of social media photography

Whilst covering the riots on 6th August, the BBC used photographs from social media sources without correctly identifying the people who captured the images and then displayed them on the Internet via Twitter.

The BBC Complaints department then incorrectly attested that there were no legal issues with copyright as the images were placed in the public domain.

The BBC has now taken the opportunity to clear the air and explain that this is not reflective of its policy and that it always attempt to credit the sources of images and other information gathered via social media.

In fact, the BBC has a whole department, the User Generated Content Hub, which is dedicated to finding and verifying online sources. (To read more the BBC's verification of online sources, see The Editors Weblog)

However, the BBC has now stated that it is prepared to release an image without correctly attributing its source, if the Senior Editor decides that it is in the public interest.

The 'publish first, ask questions later' approach is becoming ever more common in media, as news organization must keep abreast of the constant tide of information from social media.

Is it impractical to suggest that journalists attempt to consult their legal team about publishing every image or piece of information gleaned from the Internet, especially when corrections can so easily be made afterwards?

Or is responsible sourcing the key to good journalism, particularly with an organization funded directly by the public?

Sources: BBC , The Editors Weblog



Katherine Travers


2011-08-17 18:54

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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