Director general takes a stand for the BBC

Over the bank holiday weekend the director general of the BBC has hit out at Sky and the impending possibility of a cut in the licence fee.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Mark Thompson attacked the Murdoch empire, cautiously labelling it the “villain” of the industry.

Given the swathe of negative press that has punctured the Corporation’s reputation in the past few years, Thompson used the speech to emphasize the success of not just the BBC, but British broadcasting as a whole.

Among the audience was culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has made it clear that his government believes the BBC must cut more. It is Hunt who Thompson will have to renegotiate the terms of the licence fee next year, and Thompson set out a clear message defending the fee’s cost: “A pound out of the commissioning budget of the BBC is a pound out of the UK creative economy. Once gone, it will be gone for ever,” he warned.

The talk was littered with proposals for a secure future: demanding that Sky pay commercial broadcasters to show their programming; calling on the British broadcasting industry to build an alliance; and yet he failed to reassure staff at the Corporation, who remain in turmoil concerning pension cuts.

Thompson’s speech was a chance to fight for the values of the BBC that have so consistently come under attack in recent years. He took this chance, although whether his spirited defence came too little, too late remains to be seen.

(Source: MediaGuardian)




“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”

Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.

(Source: POLIS)


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