BBC acting DG Byford stresses need for maintaining independence in functioning

MUMBAI: BBC's acting DG Mark Byford committed himself to defending the BBC's independence, which he described as "non-negotiable".He recently delivered a lecture to the foreign press association at Gladstone.

He also outlined the BBC's proposals for Charter Review. Citing a broad range of examples like Panorama's recent Saddam on the Run special Byford argued that BBC journalism had not lost its bite. "The idea that I or anyone else in the BBC would do anything to undermine the integrity of our journalism is utter nonsense. Anyone who believes otherwise doesn't understand the BBC and certainly doesn't know me. We remain totally committed to delivering reliable news; expert analysis, intelligent debate and courageous, ground-breaking original journalism.

Byford added that the BBC's international broadcasting services could strengthen connections with global audiences. "We can start the global conversation which can be an antidote to ignorance, hostility and hatred. That antidote is based on a belief in openness, tolerance and mutual understanding". By building on strong foundations internationally the BBC would be more, rather than less, significant in the future Byford argued.

On the Charter Review, building the public value of the BBC's television, radio and interactive services would be a cornerstone of the BBC's approach Byford said. "Consolidation and competition in commercial broadcasting increasingly emphasises the private value of broadcasting. The BBC's role must be to focus on delivering the public value of broadcasting - something everyone can share in.

"By public value I mean the difference we can make to the quality of life in the UK through what we can deliver to people as individual consumers of our services but also as citizens. In other words, our contribution to society as a whole."

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