Television

BBC DG Thompson calls for new dialogue to restore trust in British public life

MUMBAI: BBC Director-General (DG) Mark Thompson is calling for a new dialogue aimed at restoring trust in British public life.

In a speech in London, Thompson says that broadcasters have learned good lessons on the subject of trust. "Trust in the 21st century Britain is fragile for everyone. Trust in a given institution may be based on a great tradition and great inherited values, but it depends on what you do today. It has to be earned and earned again. And the higher the trust, the higher the public expectation," he says.

In considering what should be done about trust in public life, he rejects calls for tighter regulation of the press.

Referring to a speech made by Tony Blair last June, Thompson says Britain's former PM had been right to suggest that the relationship between the media and the public sphere in Britain had been damaged.

But he adds, "It's difficult to see how any new regulation consistent with press freedom could significantly address the ills he listed that day. And if my diagnosis of the problem is right, tighter regulation might actually increase rather than decrease public distrust."

Thompson calls for reflection on the issue from everyone: politicians, media and the public. At the same time, he says he does not want to lecture anyone in the ways they should change. Instead, it is important that someone make the first move, and "no one is better placed to do that than the BBC."

In addition to measures aimed at safeguarding trust following problems with interactivity and the documentary about the Queen, the BBC now aims to undertake a number of new initiatives which will:

- Transform the way the BBC connects with British democracy – and all of its many democratic institutions – by establishing the world's most creative multimedia portal that will offer comprehensive political coverage and analysis to every secondary school in the UK.

- Build on the success of the BBC's College of Journalism by working with partners such as the Reuters Institute, university departments and the media to provide open access to the corporation's multimedia journalism resources and training.

- Evolve and develop output to create more opportunities for in-depth multi-platform set-pieces on a range of major stories throughout the year.

- Make output that explores ideas about policy and policy choices rather than simply react to what has been said, and also try harder to expose serious spin.

One thing ruled out, however, is an end to tough political interviews.

"It's sometimes suggested that the solution to the problem of trust would be to tone down some of our interviewing. If only people like John Humphrys and Nick Robinson and Jeremy Paxman were less aggressive, the public's confidence in politics and politicians would be restored and their cynicism would evaporate.

"Well, not on my watch. I don't believe that the public want to see less rigour in our questioning of politicians and other public figures: if anything, they want to see more," he said.

He also says that long-term research into attitudes on trust does not support the view that the public are more distrustful about those in public life.

"British scepticism about those in public life is not a new phenomenon. Most people doubted politicians' motives even in the 'good old days.' Ipsos-Mori's work over a generation does not show clear evidence of a large-scale long-term decline, let alone a crisis. If anything, both ministers and journalists have seen a slight improvement in recent years – albeit bumping along a very low base."

"The British public do not believe that our political system is riddled with corruption – they're actually rather less likely to say they think politicians are in it for selfish motives than citizens in many other western countries. Many of them do believe that, for whatever reasons, politicians and government ministers and officials cannot be relied upon to tell them anything like the whole truth."

He concludes that public trust is the life-blood of the BBC – which is why the corporation has taken its own problems with trust so seriously in recent months. But the BBC also could have a special role in addressing the wider question of public trust.

"In my view, this is not a crisis – but it is a real problem with real consequences. It arises less from doubts about the motives of people in public life, and more from an anxiety about truth-telling and the gulf that exists between this country's technocratic elite and much of its population."

The BBC cannot solve the problem on its own, he says, but can help kick start the process.

"I don't think there is anything more important that I can do in my time as editor-in-chief of this organisation."

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/aaj.jpg?itok=WTXjyKeT
Aaj Tak becomes the world’s first News Channel to be awarded YouTube’s ‘Diamond Play Button’

India’s No.1 news channel Aaj Tak creates history yet again! The prestigious ‘Diamond Play Button’ bestowed by YouTube, recognises Aaj Tak as the global no.1, the first and the only news channel in the world to have crossed the 10 Million Subscriber mark.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/news.jpg?itok=PDqQIFhw
News18 India launches campaign; asserts channel’s leadership

News18 India, Network18’s general Hindi news channel, recently launched a campaign with a humorous and quirky film to drive home its leadership position in the crucial primetime band in the highly competitive Hindi TV news segment.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/flix.jpg?itok=1RgvxTpA
Join Drac’s Pack on their cruise as &flix presents its next #FlixFirstPremiere ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’

It is seldom that you get to see the hilarious side to a monster trying to get himself a date with the help of a technological app like Siri! Have you ever seen a monster film that is full of fun, frolic, laughter, romance and adventure?

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/9xm.jpg?itok=ZerfjJqA
9XM On Stage with Salim Sulaiman

To celebrate the Republic Day week, 9XM - India’s most popular Bollywood music destination announces the launch of 9XM On Stage a splendid musical night created in honour of the Indian Armed Forces.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/pritam.jpg?itok=tVS2_5SL
Prime Focus joins hands with Pritam and Kwan to create JAM8

Integrated media services company Prime Focus Ltd has announced its collaboration with Jam8, a musical platform founded by Indian music composer/director Pritam, and KWAN, a talent management company to serve as a 360-degree creative solution provider for the M&E industry.

Television Production House Film Production
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/star.jpg?itok=Xao8ACOH
Star Movies Kids is the new kid on the block

A few years ago Star India decided to hive off some bits of its repertoire and focus exclusively on its main GEC Star Plus and the emerging sports scenario. Surprisingly, the channel is now taking a new turn by targeting the youngest viewers. As per industry sources, the Uday Shankar-led network is...

Television TV Channels Kids
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/17/cn.jpg?itok=BRpRY0Oq
Zapak and Cartoon Network India partner to launch ‘Ben 10 - Alien Run’ mobile game

Anil D. Ambani led Reliance Entertainment’s Zapak, India’s leading Gaming Destination, in association with Cartoon Network India, rings in the New Year with an epic launch for fans and gamers alike, with Ben 10 - Alien Run Mobile Game.

Television TV Channels Kids
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/17/makarskratni.jpg?itok=GEQT4q5A
Sony Entertainment Television makes Makarsankranti memorable for the commuters of Western Railway

The local trains in Mumbai are known to give a unique glimpse into the lives of Mumbaikars.

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/17/atul.jpg?itok=WTNlgJrH
ZEE announces offer on Zee Family Packs, now at Rs. 39* per month

With the new tariff/pricing regime all set to come into effect from February 01, 2019 ZEE, the No. 1 television network of the country, announces attractive launch offers for its consumers. Zee family packs will be available for Rs. 39* only. This special launch offer has been devised for consumers...

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories