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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 09:39 GMT
BBC election guidelines revealed
The Houses of Parliament

The BBC has published its guidelines for covering the general election.

They include advice on the "appropriate" level of coverage to give the main parties and how to reflect the smaller ones such as UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

The guidelines, approved by the Board of Governors, will come into effect on the day the prime minister offers his resignation to the Queen and the general election date is announced - widely tipped to be May 5.

Programme makers have been warned to take care over vox pops - brief snap-shots of public opinion - and text messaging, and there is a reminder about how to handle items on specific constituencies.

"On constituency stories it is no longer necessary to seek out contributions from every candidate contesting the seat," said David Jordan, chief adviser, politics.

"It is fine simply to refer to the main contestants then list all the candidates at the end of the piece.

"This has been the case since 2000 but many people still seem to think that they have to include soundbites from each candidate."

The guidelines are for every part of the BBC, not just news. They supplement and replace a section of the Producers' Guidelines.


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