I have had a number of emails regarding the public consultation on the BBC’s Royal Charter. As such, I have set out my views on the topic here.
As a former journalist I fully appreciate the important role the BBC plays, both as a media outlet and more widely as a valued British institution. I worked in Television for about 8 years, mainly for Central News East, but also for the BBC.
A number of my friends continue to work for both the BBC and other TV and radio channels so I think I have a good idea of how this particular media works. I do not share the view that the BBC should not be comprehensively reviewed; I want more fairness between it and ITV in particular. The current public consultation forms part of a comprehensive review of the BBC’s Royal Charter, which governs the work of the BBC and is due to expire in 2016.
The Review provides an opportunity to address important questions about the BBC’s future, in particular with regards to its mission, scope, funding and governance. There have been rapid developments in the industry during the ten years since the last review so I believe it is vitally important that these issues are considered in light of modern technologies and consumer preferences.
I know that the Government is taking the responses extremely seriously and is in the process of reading and analysing all of them, reaching 150,000 in early January. I do not think that it is right to suggest the Government is trying to bury the responses. This is clearly false. The volume of responses is proving a logistical challenge and it has taken longer than anticipated, but the Government has been clear that it will be publishing both a summary of the consultations and its proposals as soon as it is able.
The Government’s commitment to safeguarding the BBC’s future is clear, and this Review, which I hope you have contributed to, is an important step in the process that will ensure it continues to offer the best possible service for Britain in the modern world.