BBC White Paper

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 14th May 2016

The Government has published its White Paper on the future of the BBC.
This confirms that the BBC will maintain its scale and scope – a key
concern of IBT’s. There will be a new emphasis on distinctiveness meaning
the BBC’s output across all platforms needs to be different from that of
its commercial competitors. The BBC has welcomed the Government’s plans
with the exception of its proposal that six of the members of the new BBC
Board will be appointed by Ministers. This Board will have within its
remit all editorial matters, although the Director General remains Editor
in Chief, and therefore the BBC and others are concerned that this will
compromise the BBC’s independence from Government.

IBT has concerns of its own. The Government has proposed changing the
BBC’s purposes which currently include a global purpose ‘to bring the
world to the UK and the UK to the world.’ This has now been dropped. A
specific commitment to the World Service remains but the commitment to
international content for UK audiences has gone. Our worry is that, as a
result of this, the range of the BBC’s international coverage will be
narrowed. There will of course be international content within news and
current affairs, but it is essential that this is balanced with other
coverage as the view of the world presented by news is inevitably quite

We will be writing to the Secretary of State and to the Director General
of the BBC to express our concerns.

We are calling on the Government and the BBC to amend the new purpose 1
which covers news and current affairs so that it is clear that the BBC has
an obligation to broadcast non news content that informs us about the
wider world.

Download IBT’s briefing on the BBC White Paper here.

If you would like to join us in taking action about this please contact
Sophie Chalk, IBT’s Head of Advocacy

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