Controversial language favoured by LGBT lobby group Stonewall has undermined objective reporting at the BBC, journalists say.
According to staff, news output, website content, and the corporation’s own style guide, all include contentious phrases and definitions promoted by the controversial lobby group.
Last week, the broadcaster announced its withdrawal from Stonewall’s increasingly beleaguered ‘Diversity Champions’ programme following questions over impartiality.
One presenter told The Times that Stonewall’s stock phrases such as “sex assigned at birth” needed to be ditched in order to “re-establish biological truth”.
Another staff member argued it was time for Stonewall’s influence on the style guide to be ‘unpicked’ as the lobbyists gave “very one-sided advice” on “hotly contested” issues.
Journalists are also calling for the BBC to end its links with the transgender lobby group Global Butterflies, which claims there at least 150 gender identities.
Last week, the corporation’s head of news Fran Unsworth told BBC Pride: “You’ll hear things you don’t personally like and see things you don’t like — that’s what the BBC is, and you have to get used to that.”
Website inews obtained a full recording of the Zoom meeting with the broadcaster’s LGBT network.
It said members responded by complaining that the BBC was ‘demonising’ Stonewall and claimed it was “institutionally transphobic” for leaving the lobby group’s scheme for employers.
A statement from the BBC Press Office on 10 November said: “Along with many other UK employers, the BBC has participated in Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme to support our objective to create a fully inclusive workplace.
“However, over time our participation in the Programme has led some to question whether the BBC can be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stonewall is taking an active role.
“After careful consideration, we believe it is time to step back from the Diversity Champions Programme and will also no longer participate in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.”
It also claimed that participating in the scheme “has never required the BBC to support the campaigns of Stonewall, nor its policy positions”, adding that its journalists “continue, as ever, to report a full range of perspectives on stories”.