BBC Trust on the draft Operating Licence for the BBC World Service
- IBT welcomes the opportunity to respond to this BBC Trust consultation and broadly agrees that the draft Operating Licence for the World Service describes the characteristics and other features of the World Service as they currently exist.
- IBT endorses much of what is expressed in the accompanying BBC Trust Paper, BBC World Service: a licence fee funded service, especially the commitment to ‘ensure that the distinctive service offered by the World Service is protected and enhanced’.
- IBT perceives an inherent contradiction if the BBC World Service is primarily concerned with broadcasting content to audiences outside the UK but is accountable to the BBC Trust which represents UK licence fee payers. We highlight this issue in our submission.
- IBT has some concerns about whether the current organisational structure of the BBC is appropriate to ensure that the ethos and programme standards of the World Service are maintained. IBT urges the BBC Trust to ensure there is greater representation of the World Service at top management level within the BBC Executive to ensure its priorities are protected.
- While we welcome the availability of World Service content for UK audiences, we would like reassurances that no World Service budget will be spent in increasing UK reach because this is not a primary priority of the World Service.
- We suggest a re-drafting for World Service Objectives, Priorities and Targets because it appears that reputation is a more important priority and objective than the accuracy, impartiality and independence of the World Service.
- Should the overall governance of the BBC change, IBT would wish to consider ensuing implications for the World Service.