by CPBF news release
The Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF) believes that the recommendations in today’s report by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMS) on the BBC White Paper (.pdf) fail to point out the dangers in the Government’s White Paper.
- The Report accepts that the BBC should be regulated by Ofcom (p.17). But by making Ofcom the regulator, the government is handing power to an organisation set up to promote commercial media. Ofcom should be reformed so that its main aim is the promotion of public service media and its governing body made properly representative of the diversity of interests in society.
- The Committee ‘will keep a watching brief’ on the BBC’s government backed proposals to contract out all of its output except news. Why? Because the BBC and the independent companies support this (p.18) The Committee should recognise that this will weaken the BBC’s production base and the case for continued licence fee funding, as well as undermining the Corporation’s ability to train future workers in the industry.
- The Recommendations recognise that the BBC’s proposals to subsidise the private sector by using licence fee money to fund local news collection are ‘vague and unclear’ (p.18). In fact this is a way of letting large newspaper organisations off the hook; they have cut back on local journalism to bolster their profits and now public money is being used to bail them out.
CPBF National Council member, Tom O’Malley comments: ‘The Committee’s recommendations miss the opportunity to nail the fundamental flaws in the Government’s proposal for the BBC. Instead of pressing for better regulation, an end to the idea of contracting out the bulk of production and top slicing the licence fee, it gives comfort to those who want to see a diminished BBC operating in an expanded commercial environment.’