for diverse, democratic and accountable media
When the DCMS Green Paper on BBC Charter Renewal was published on 16 July, the reaction on the part of the corporation’s enemies in the press was relatively muted, particularly when compared to the way in which they had reacted, a few days earlier, to the leaked news of the upcoming consultation.Thus the paper which (seemingly inevitably) broke the story, the Sunday Times, 12 July, under the headline ‘Tories Give BBC Reform Ultimatum’, announced that:
'the BBC will be told to return to its public service roots and do away with highly commercial programmes such as The Voice as part of the widest ranging shake-up of the corporation for a generation. Last night John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, appointed a board of eight advisers with a brief to conduct “root-and-branch” reform of the corporation as part of the process of renewal of its royal charter, which will expire at the end of 2016.'
In 2013 the European Scrutiny Committee produced a report in which it argued that “given the possibility of some form of EU referendum - either on membership or following treaty change - over the next ten years, the media, particularly (given its role) the BBC, needs to ask itself difficult questions about how it deals with EU issues.”
The third, and overarching theme in the press campaign against the Guardian and on behalf of the government is national security. Take, for example, an article in the Mail, 8 October, headed 'The Guardian Has Produced a “Handbook" that Will Help Fanatics Strike at Will', followed by the straps 'Security officials say there was no public interest in Guardian's expose', and 'They also claim terrorists now know where and where not to communicate'.
By rejecting the Royal Charter, the majority of the British press has done exactly the opposite of what it claims it wants to achieve: keep politicians out of press regulation...