BBC Impartiality Report To Be Led by Ex-ITV Chief

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One time commercial web chief Stuart Prebble to lead analysis of how BBC reporting is affected by technological and social change.

LONDON – An independent review of the BBC's impartiality commissioned by the BBC Trust is to be led by the former chief executive of U.K. commercial web ITV, Stuart Prebble.

The former ITV chief's review will be a follow-up to John Bridcut's 2007 report, "From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel," which set out a dozen "guiding principles" to help ensure against biased reporting.

The Bridcut report said technological and social change meant the spread of opinion went beyond traditional concepts of left and right, but warned that impartiality did not mean insipid program making.

Prebble will investigate how Bridcut's recommendations have been implemented, and how the BBC's understanding of "breadth of voice" has developed.

Prebble – who left ITV in 2002 to set up production company Liberty Bell, which produces Grumpy Old Men, and is now a director of Storyvault Films – said: "I am delighted to have been invited to lead this important study for the BBC.

"Having spent most of my career outside the BBC, I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to examine how well the commitment to breadth of voice – which is unique to the BBC – is being met," Prebble said.

The review's terms of reference will be published in the autumn, and the review is expected to be concluded in the summer of 2013.

Alison Hastings, chair of the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee, said: "John Bridcut's 2007 report set a new standard for achieving impartiality – likening it to a 'wagon wheel' of opinions rather than the traditional 'see-saw' of left versus right.

"Five years on, it's the right time to check up on the BBC's progress. Stuart Prebble's distinguished career in broadcasting, both as a program maker and as a CEO, puts him in an ideal position to take an informed view on how the BBC has responded to Bridcut's challenge."