UK audience want BBC more independent

MUMBAI: What You Said about the BBC, a report on the BBC, organised by culture secretary Terssa Jowell has found that the public has an overall satisfaction rating of 75 per cent with the broadcaster belying the perception that BBC programmes have declined in quality.

The survey carried out from December 2003 to March 2004 included public meetings, website feedback and seminars with children and young people. The questions posed were on BBC's services, the license fee, and issues of accountability.

"The public broadcaster is still seen as a standard setter and has a reputation for reliable, accurate and impartial news reporting," said the report.

Jowell is quoted in media reports as saying, "The results are illuminating. What You Said about the BBC contains both high praise and trenchant criticism. Most people indicated that they hold the BBC in high esteem, but there are concerns among a significant minority about a perceived decline in quality.

"One clear message that does come through is that the public wants a strong BBC, independent of government. As I have repeatedly said, this is the only certain outcome of the Charter Review.

"The findings in this report provide the baseline for us to now go forward and shape the BBC of the future."

According to the report, the public wants the BBC to be more accountable to license fee payers, and less accountable to the government.

The report will contribute towards the Charter Review, which sets out the BBC's objectives and functions.

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