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CPBF says that draft Charter opens the way to privatisation of public service broadcasting by stealth

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Posted by Tom O'Malley CPBF

The Draft Royal Charter announced today (15 September) in Parliament, will diminish the role of the BBC as a public service broadcaster, undermine its production base and weaken its position as the provider of diverse, challenging, and high quality programming.

The Draft Charter contains three, key proposals: ·       

Placing responsibility for regulating the BBC with Ofcom. ·       

Establishing  a new unitary board to run the BBC ·       

Ensuring the BBC’s impact on the market is ‘positive for the public and commercial organisations’.

The first hands the BBC over to a regulator designed to promote commercial media, and likely to restrain the BBC from sustaining a positive, forward looking approach to developing public service media.

The second sets up a body intended to mimic a private sector company’s Board. This sets the precedent for ultimately turning the BBC into an organisation run, primarily, like a private sector company.

The third reinforces the current policy of limiting BBC initiatives, by cutting back its internet presence, top slicing the Licence Fee to fund private sector news providers, and allowing the BBC to contract out all of its production, saving news, to the private sector. The debacle over ‘The Big Bake Off’ shows what happens when policy insists on the BBC buying in programmes from the ‘independent’ sector, instead of making and controlling its own product.

CPBF National Council member, Tom O’Malley comments: ‘The Government is determined to privatise public service broadcasting by stealth. The proposals on governance and on the BBC’s market impact are designed to do this. A future BBC, run by the market regulator Ofcom, governed by a board made in the image of a private sector company, and stripped of its capacity to produce and control high quality programming in-house, will be a much diminished, marginal force in an increasingly commercially dominated media sector’ 

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DATELINE: 15 September, 2016

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