An Uncertain Future

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 14th June 2013

Sophie Powell, Chief of UK Advocacy and Campaigns

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Current affairs is facing a crisis of confidence in the aftermath of the ill-fated Newsnight investigation into child sexual abuse. This crisis makes it all the more necessary to stand back from the BBC’s present tribulations, and to take a rigorous look at current affairs on television, its value to society and its future.

There’s no doubt that current affairs has made a huge contribution to society by exposing injustice and has been a key element of public service broadcasting. But, with increasing competition, falling budgets, a new Communications Bill on the horizon and a Government committed to deregulation, the future of current affairs is far from secure.

This report by Jacquie Hughes, a distinguished journalist, producer and former commissioner, is timely because it draws attention to the that current affairs only survives because it underpinned by legislation.

All public service broadcasters, as part of licences, currently have a statutory obligation to broadcast national and international current affairs in peak time. It’s vital that this obligation is restated in any new Communications Bill.

We need to put the Newsnight crisis behind us and argue for a clear commitment in forthcoming legislation to television current affairs.

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