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Academics urged to give views on BBC Charter Review

Journalism academics have been invited to sign a letter from MeCCSA expressing concerns about the BBC Charter Review. (image: David Holt / Flickr)

Natalie Fenton, Chair of MeCCSA, writes: “This Charter Review signals the most serious challenge to the purposes and funding of the BBC in a generation. Whatever your views on the future funding, scope and purpose of the BBC, as teachers and researchers in the field we encourage you to make sure your concerns are heard.”

The Consultation ends on 8th October 2015. MeCCSA will be submitting this letter, addressed to John Whittingdale, along with the MeCCSA response to the consultation.

Academics are also urged to contact their own MPs and sign the letter:



Letter to John Whittingdale:

As teachers and researchers in media and journalism, we are surprised and concerned that the terms of the consultation based on the government’s Green Paper on BBC Charter Review are so skewed; they are so preoccupied with an assumed negative impact of the BBC on the commercial media market that they ignore the considerable evidence of the BBC’s enormous contribution to the UK’s creative industries and to society more generally. The consultation therefore fails to consider the BBC’s remit to serve all audiences, irrespective of background or geography, or to acknowledge the host of evidence about the public use, importance, and impact of the services of the BBC.

We fully understand the complexities involved in assessing the performance of the BBC, and are well aware that it has much work to do in
representing diverse perspectives and populations. However, the Green Paper seems determined to repeat (without any empirical justification) those criticisms of the BBC that regularly surface in the Murdoch-owned press and similar newspapers. It also seems to bury any notion that UK citizens might be best served by a content provider that produces both popular and minority programmes and which broadcasts them across a range of platforms.

It is clear that the Green Paper’s real intent is not to secure a future for a well-funded, genuinely independent and innovative public service
provider, but to shrink the BBC in the interests of its commercial competitors. We urge the government to ensure that the Review embraces the widest possible range of independent evidence, and not to put at unnecessary risk an institution that remains internationally regarded as a major British achievement.