Tag Archives: broadcasting

The government’s BBC white paper presents reasonably sensible proposals

The government’s white paper on the BBC (“A BBC for the future: a broadcaster of distinction”) is available to read here. For a white paper, it is attractively presented. It puts forward a range of thoughtful and carefully calibrated proposals for the future.

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Lord Anthony Lester writes…We will march in the streets for the BBC

Tomorrow the government will publish a white paper setting out its plans for the future of the BBC. At the BAFTA awards on Sunday the director Peter Kosminsky rightly received a standing ovation. He used his acceptance speech to voice his fear that the White Paper will compromise our precious, independent, world-renowned organisation. He cautioned that the BBC was on a path to evisceration that would leave the broadcasting landscape bereft – and the output of television and radio determined solely by what lines the pockets of shareholders.

Those fears are not fanciful. The BBC has retained its reputation for world-class programming over the last decade despite increasingly painful cuts. As Lord Patten pointed out in a major lecture at the Reuter’s institute last week, the BBC’s real income has fallen over the past decade by more than 15%. In the past five years alone BSkyB’s revenues went up by more than 16% and ITV’s increased by 21%.

Being effective as a public services broadcaster depends on having a guaranteed source of revenue. That is and has been the licence fee. It must be owned by the BBC, not by the government. It must not be sliced off to feed commercial rivals. The government has no business raiding it, like when it dumped the cost of free licences for the over 75s on the BBC rather than taxpayers. That undermined morale within the BBC as well as public trust and confidence. The BBC is not an arm of government that sets welfare policy and it would cause public outrage if it were forced to become one. The BBC must stand independent from government, free to call it to account.

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Liberal Democrats bring Doctor Who into the Lords

Yesterday, Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords held a debate on broadcast media. Falling in the week after the triumphant 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, it’s hardly surprising that the BBC’s flagship drama was heavily referenced during the contributions.

Olly Grender was one of a trio of Liberal Democrats to make their maiden speeches during the debate. We’ll put them all up in full separately as is our custom, but here are some highlights of Olly’s. First of all, she talked about the advice she’d received about her debut:

 I am sure, like me, most will have received a great deal

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Opinion: Nationalists want to monitor the BBC!

BBC - Some rights reserved by Tim LoudonA group of MSPs have declared that they’re going to start monitoring BBC Scotland because they don’t think they can deliver on their obligations! That should ring alarm bells!

The SNP controlled Scottish Parliament Education & Culture Committee has published a report, critical of cuts at BBC Scotland, with the implication that the Scottish arm of the Corporation would be unable to produce adequate coverage of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the independence referendum.

The Committee forgets that BBC Scotland is one part of …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Local television

Last week was an important one for local news coverage in the Borders as the broadcasting regulator OFCOM asked for views on its proposals to change the way local television news is provided here.

After years of shared news with Tyne Tees, they are now looking at options to return things close to the way they were in 2009. That would mean more coverage of the south of Scotland and particularly our part of it …

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Opinion: We must dismantle BBC to reform it

If the BBC has been feeling a little cursed of late it can at least feel blessed in having Rupert Murdoch as an enemy. For the truth is that the BBC and Murdoch need to each other to justify their own world view and block any threat to seriously reform either of their vast empires.

In much the same way as the Labour and Tory parties use each other’s existence to drown the genuinely radical voices out of British public life whilst they tinker at their edge of whichever of

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Opinion: Hollow Crown – Is this what the BBC is for?

I’ll immediately rubbish my own title. Of course, the BBC does thousands of things. Its beauty is that hundreds of thousands of people can point to be one thing and say “That is what the BBC is for” – be it “Strictly”, Greg James or BBC Radio Ulster.

For me, if I was to identify one programme series which summarises all that is great about the BBC, it would be “Hollow Crown“, a quartet of Shakespeare kingly history plays currently showing on BBC2.

Posted in Op-eds | 16 Comments
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