BBC News journalists have been told not to “do anything stupid” on social media after Jasmine Lawrence’s anti-UKIP tweet.
According to The Guardian, head of the BBC newsroom Mary Hockaday has sent an email to staff reminding them of the corporation’s "very clear social media guidance".
It comes after BBC News channel editor Lawrence tweeted: "#WhyImVotingUkip – to stand up for white, middle class, middle aged men w sexist/racist views, totally under represented in politics today."
She was subsequently taken off election coverage duty, with a spokesperson saying: "Jasmine Lawrence was tweeting from a personal account. She has been reminded of her responsibility to uphold BBC guidelines. She has deactivated her twitter account and will now be playing no part in the BBC's election coverage in coming days."
The Guardian reported Hockaday as saying in an email to staff yesterday: "Social media is now a vital part of our work, allowing us to get our journalism to new audiences, connect with people, and gather news as it happens.”
Pointing staff in the direction of the BBC’s social media guidelines, she added: “[T]he guidance is clear when it comes to personal activity: 'As a BBC member of staff – and especially as someone who works in News – there are particular considerations to bear in mind. They can all be summarised as: 'Don't do anything stupid.'"
The BBC’s social media guidelines state that editorial staff “should never indicate a political allegiance on social networking sites… regardless of whether they indicate that they are employed by the BBC or not”.