New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change

If new BBC Director General Entwistle succeeds in making the BBC more open, diverse and fair, questions about the justification for the licence fee should end.

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Helen Goodman MP (Labour, Bishop Auckland) is the shadow media minister

Last week, it was announced George Entwistle will be the next director general of the BBC and, in many ways, it is a great time for him to take up the role.

Couple-watching-TV
The UK public currently have the highest positive impression of the BBC since records began and figures show that trust in the BBC has never been higher.

This has led some to question whether the BBC’s market share is too great and whether their privileged access to the licence fee is fair.

 


See also:

Huge uncollected funds could transform UK broadcasting 8 Nov 2011

Leaked reports of 20 per cent cuts to BBC Wales “not acceptable” says Jones 26 May 2011

Payback? Osborne’s raid on BBC gives Murdochs exactly what they wanted 20 Oct 2010


 

I do not believe the BBC should be treated like a commercial broadcaster – they are far more accountable to the public and 25% of TV programmes are made by independent producers. Nonetheless further steps to greater openness would be welcome.

Currently the power over what is shown on the BBC is in the hands of a few commissioning editors. Aside from either choosing to watch or not to watch a TV programme, the public have no say over what is shown on the BBC.

I would suggest to the new director general the BBC should look into the idea of ‘public commissioning’. This would essentially involve the BBC reserving a couple of hours per month on each channel and allowing the public to decide what subjects they would like programmes to cover, which have not been seen.

The second issue for the new director general to address is diversity. On representing women, ethnic minorities and regions outside London I believe the BBC still has much work to do.

While it is fantastic that the BBC has moved many of its operations to Salford its coverage still tends to be too London-centric. For example in the North East the annual Miners Gala that is taking place on Saturday will be a huge event, yet I would be very surprised if it gets more than the most minimal coverage.

The third challenge facing George Entwistle is the nettle that the BBC must grasp – pay inequality. Many people across the country rightly feel aggrieved that there licence fee goes towards paying the £2million-plus salaries of the likes of Graham Norton and Gary Lineker.

While it is encouraging to hear that salaries for the BBC’s stars are generally going down more progress must still be made. If George Entwistle can succeed in making the BBC more open, diverse and fairer organisation then questions about the justification for the licence fee should end.

 


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11 Responses to “New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change”

  1. AlanW_PoliticsUK

    What improvements to the BBC do you think the new Director General should make? http://t.co/6rjgz8UH

  2. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/pWMMa2OK

  3. Pulp Ark

    New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/UG475VWN #MediaIntegrity #BBC #GeorgeEntwistle #muslim #tcot #sioa

  4. Foxy52

    @HelenGoodmanMP: New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/UJjX68kj The UK public currently (cont) http://t.co/ipZ6qYU6

  5. Foxy52

    New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change, writes shadow media minister @HelenGoodmanMP: http://t.co/veJUsoYl

  6. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/EWm66l5p

  7. Mr. Sensible

    I entirely agree, Ms Goodman. I wish him luck in this new role.

  8. Helen Goodman

    @HelenGoodmanMP: New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/UJjX68kj The UK public currently (cont) http://t.co/ipZ6qYU6

  9. Katherine Smith

    @HelenGoodmanMP: New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/UJjX68kj The UK public currently (cont) http://t.co/ipZ6qYU6

  10. JC

    Beware. For every person who might want to watch the Miners Gala, there may be at least as many who want to watch powerboating and other sports of the wealthy. Personally, I am not particularly interested in the Miners Gala and find it as remote as the current London centric output of the BBC. I am also not impressed with the amount the BBC spends on sports coverage.

    There are many who think that the BBC is too low-brow and should educate more. Some might even feel alienated by the current direct competition with the commercial companies.

  11. cameronsfollys

    [There's nothing like making the 'race to the bottom' more interesting!] New BBC DG has a great opportunity for change http://t.co/CYcqRkvJ

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