Meet Majd Yousef. Hailing from Jordan and now living in London, she is currently employed as a YouTube editor at BBC News and two years ago, described her job at the time as follows:
“Majd Yousef is an Online Editor at BBC World Services and a YouTube Editor at BBC Arabic. Majd specializes in online videos in general, and news in particular. At BBC, Majd is responsible for creating publishing strategies for news and programs, pulling analytics and feedback, and keeping an eye on what is trending in the Arab region. Having worked previously in the same position at Al Jazeera English in Doha, her passion for digital media and online publishing goes back to her days at Kharabeesh, an online entertainment network where she worked as a Publishing Manager for over 2 years. […]
I am responsible for everything BBC Arabic publishes on its YouTube channel; I set the online strategy for our different programs and make editorial decisions of what to publish, based on our ongoing analysis of the audience’s behavior.”
Ms Yousef has also contributed to written BBC content.
As we have unfortunately had cause to note here on numerous occasions in the past, BBC editorial guidelines on the personal use of social media state that:
“…when someone clearly identifies their association with the BBC and/or discusses their work, they are expected to behave appropriately when on the Internet, and in ways that are consistent with the BBC’s editorial values and policies.”
“The BBC’s reputation for impartiality and objectivity is crucial. The public must be able to trust the integrity of BBC programmes and services. Our audiences need to be confident that the outside activities of our presenters, programme makers and other staff do not undermine the BBC’s impartiality or reputation and that editorial decisions are not perceived to be influenced by any commercial or personal interests. […] Even if they are not identified as a BBC staff member, editorial staff and staff in politically sensitive areas should not be seen to support any political party or cause.”
“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC. For example, News and Current Affairs staff should not: […]
advocate any particular position on an issue of current public controversy or debate.”
When, on October 21st, the king of Jordan announced that he will not renew two annexes of the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan concerning territory leased to Israel, Majd Yousef nevertheless made her opinion on the issue very clear in a Tweet sent from a Twitter account identifying her as a BBC employee.
Ms Yousef also sent several additional problematic Tweets concerning the same topic, including one using the terms “we” and “our” – i.e. Jordanians.
“It’s important to recall the appendix to the agreement, this is a one year notice prior to the execution, i.e. we must make sure it’s being carried out next year, then according to the agreement the two sides enter a stage of consultations after the notice – let’s see who is “consulting” on our behalf before we celebrate…”
Apparently someone at the BBC recognised that Majd Yousef’s Tweets breach BBC editorial guidelines on the personal use of social media because two days after they were sent, her Twitter account was deleted.
But at least we now have some insight into the opinions behind the “editorial decisions” that go into making videos for BBC News.
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