Defend the BBC!

As you may have noticed, the government is reviewing the BBC's Charter. And, quite unsurprisingly, commercial lobbyists are lining up to flay the Corporation. What with the government's irritation with a public service broadcaster that dares to report independently, the voices calling for it to be reduced to the marginal status of, for example, PBS in the USA are preaching to the choir.

Defend the BBC! Who really wants the BBC to be reduced to running month-long "begathons" to raise operating expenses from viewers' donations? (PBS has been known to run all-day Doctor Who festivals for this purpose - which is nice, but hardly the mark of a strong public service.)

Who wants the news to be sponsored by corporations that just happen to have interests in influencing reporting? (Yes, it's an easy rhetorical question: those corporations do, and so does News Corp.)

Or who wants the BBC to be dependent on the Chancellor? Imperfect though the licence fee may be in economic theory, it's the least bad means of funding known.

Of course, journalists have our complaints about the BBC. We insist that the definition of "Public Service Broadcaster" must include treating all creators fairly, in particular stopping rights-grabs.

All members [were] encouraged to respond to the Charter Review. You may find the Creators' Rights Alliance response linked below helpful in drafting your own. The deadline [was] 31 March 2004.

Meanwhile, OFCOM has launched a Public Service Broadcasting Television consultation and there'll be more consultations along in a minute...

Last modified: 7 July 2004 - © 2004 contributors
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