Government begins debate on the BBC’s future
A 12 week consultation has launched today to invite the industry and the public to submit their views on the BBC to make sure it remains a valued public broadcaster.
The topics for debate as part of the process to review the BBC’s Royal Charter have been released, as the current one ends next year. The Government’s consultation paper – a ‘Green Paper’ – is the first stage of the process in setting a new Charter.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale MP, said: “The BBC is at the very heart of Britain. It is one of this nation’s most treasured institutions – playing a role in almost all of our lives. Ten years ago, the last time the Government ran a Charter Review, the media landscape looked very different. The BBC has adapted to this changing landscape, and remains much-loved by audiences, a valuable engine of growth and an international benchmark for television, radio, online and journalism.
“However we need to ask some hard questions during this Charter Review. Questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what its scale and scope should be in the light of those aims, how far it affects others in television, radio and online, and what the right structures are for its governance and regulation.”
Amongst the issues for public discussion is the amount of radio and television channels the BBC operates. Twenty years ago it had two television channels and five national radio stations. It is now the largest public service broadcaster in the world, with nine television channels, ten national radio stations, and a major online presence. The consultation paper looks at whether this particular range of services best serves licence fee payers and the impact it has on the commercial sector given the current and future media environment.
The public and industry can access the consultation paper, including an online response form, at www.gov.uk/bbccharterreview. The consultation will last for 12 weeks, from 16 July to 8 October 2015. The Government will then bring forward proposals based on this consultation in the Spring 2016.