After weeks of phony war the Government has published the Green Paper that will lead up to the renewal of the BBC’s Royal Charter. Many are concerned it will lead to a scaled back public broadcaster.
There’s now 12 weeks for public and the industry to make their contribution.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale MP, said the media landscape is very different to the last charter renewal ten years ago. “We need to ask some hard questions during this Charter Review. Questions about what the BBC should be trying to achieve in an age where consumer choice is now far more extensive than it has been, what its scale and scope should be in the light of those aims, how far it affects others in television, radio and online, and what the right structures are for its governance and regulation.”
The paper compares the BBC’s output of 20 years ago, when there was just the two national TV networks and five national radio services with today’s nine television channels and ten radio stations, even if some of them are part-time networks.
The BBC reacted robustly saying that it would publish its own detailed response in September: “We believe that this Green Paper would appear to herald a much diminished, less popular BBC. That would be bad for Britain and would not be the BBC that the public has known and loved for over 90 years,” the corporation said in a statement.
There will also be action to close the loophole that allows viewers without a TV licence to watch catch up content through the BBC iPlayer.
Earlier this week Mr Whittingdale announced the appointment of a group of experts to advise on the process, again this has come in for criticism from supporters of the BBC. Earlier this week a group that included Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry and Daniel Craig wrote an open letter to the prime minister, telling him “a diminished BBC would mean a diminished Britain”.