Television

BBC welcomes 10 year Charter proposal

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MUMBAI: UK broadcaster The BBC has welcomed the British Government's proposal for a new 10 year Charter from 2007 and continued secure funding through the licence fee.

These recommendations were detailed in the Green Paper published by the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

BBC chairman, Michael Grade, said, "This is a strong endorsement of the BBC as the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in the UK now, and through digital switchover. On behalf of the Board of Governors, I accept the Government's conclusions for future governance of the corporation. It is regrettable that our own reforms have not had time to prove themselves. But it is important that the issue has now been settled ahead of the new Charter, providing the BBC with the necessary certainty and stability."

Grade pointed out that in the BBC's Building Public Value (BPV) manifesto, published last year the broadcaster had set out a series of radical steps to modernise BBC governance. This had included the creation of an independent Governance Unit, the introduction of service licences and a stringent public value test.

"These are being implemented in full and are already having the desired effect.

For the first time in the BBC's history, there is now a clear distinction and appropriate separation between governance and management, and a greater emphasis on objective, evidence-based scrutiny of BBC activities. I recognise that our changes have been essentially more behavioural than structural. We had hoped that these crucial reforms would be allowed time to prove their worth. However, we recognise that the consensus in the public debate has been to move beyond behavioural changes and to buttress them with a new structure."

BBC DG Mark Thompson said, "The Green Paper endorses the ambitious public purposes we set out in Building Public Value, adding for the first time an explicit purpose for the BBC to lead the building of digital Britain. A 10 year Charter and secure funding for the BBC will give us the right foundation on which to take on these challenges.

"Audience expectations are rising all the time and it's hard to predict what platforms, technology and innovations might emerge between now and 2016. But the assurance that original, British content, consistently aiming for excellence, from the BBC will be a guaranteed fixture of any future landscape is good news for the industry and our audiences. Over the coming months, as the Charter debate continues, we intend to show by our actions that we are committed to creating a BBC fit for the future, open to new technologies and new ways of serving our audiences, with fair access to the best ideas from wherever they come, drawing on talent from the whole UK, with transparent and coherent commercial activities and with rigorous plans to deliver the best possible value to licence-payers."

Thompson conceded that it was equally important that as the Executive Board of a public service broadcaster, funded by the licence fee, they should be properly supervised and held accountable for decisions taken.

    

      

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