BBC Charter Review

NUJ outline responses

Q: HOW SHOULD THE BBC ADAPT TO COPE WITH CHANGES IN TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE?

The BBC should embrace new technology but not at the expense of the creative talents of its staff. It is vital that those skills of individuals are developed within new technology as well as preserving the BBC's public service commitment to the culture of a mixed and diverse society

Q: SHOULD THE BBC RUN COMMERCIAL SERVICES?

Yes, the operations of BBC Worldwide, for example, are an important part of BBC activity, and the money raised supplements BBC income so that it relies less on the licence fee or public purse. The extent to which the BBC involves itself in the commercial acitivity, needs to be carefully considered.

Q: HOW SHOULD WE PAY FOR THE BBC?

It is vital that the BBC remains a publicly-funded organisation, and it needs to be properly-funded. The BBC is Britain’s public service broadcaster and its value to the nation is incalculable. If it were to become just another commercial broadcaster, there is no doubt that standards would plummet, both at the BBC and throughout broadcasting. The licence-fee is a fair and practical method of raising revenue from those who have television, and it offers extremely good value for money.

Q: IS THE BBC ORGANISED IN THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY?

It is vital that the BBC should continue to serve the nations and regions – Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the regions of England. Its mix of radio, television, interactive, online and digital services is extremely rich and should be maintained and, where possible, expanded. The BBC should also retain and expand services for minorities, for example the BBC Asian Network.

Q: HOW SHOULD THE BBC BE RUN? HOW SHOULD IT BE REGULATED?

Whatever the shortcomings of the BBC Board of Governors, we believe this system should be retained. We do not think it appropriate that a commercially-minded regulator such as OFCOM should replace the Board. However, we think it is important that the Board of Governors become a more democratic body, and that there should be representation from trade unions within the Broadcasting Industry. A more democratic Board could continue to oversee the BBC while being its regulator.

Q: HOW DO WE ENSURE THAT THE BBC IS PROPERLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC AND PARLIAMENT?

If the Board of Governors were a more democratic body, it would be more accountable to the public. Parliament already scrutinises the BBC and we believe it is already accountable in this regard.

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Last modified: 8 April 2004

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