Saturday, September 5, 2015

Global play

The Guardian has the first of what I expect to be a generously-sized colander of leaks from the BBC's Charter proposals, formally due at 0830 on Monday.

It says the BBC is to seek financial support from the government to expand World Service operations to target North Korea and get back on terms in Russia, and other tricky areas. The offer is, apparently, that the BBC will match Government funding, presumably via the Foreign Office, if, in return the Global News operation on tv, already taking ads, is allowed to get even more commercial. 

This doesn't look like an offer driven by high principle. The big advantage of the BBC taking on the original £245m pa that funded World Service from the FCO was that Auntie could more believably say it wasn't a tool of Government. A principled deal would allow the BBC to make its own decisions about where and when it broadcasts - the last control still requiring FCO approval for change. Plus an increasingly commercial BBC Global News, ie BBC World tv, makes it lose the very difference that wins respect for its editorial choices around the globe. Soon, just another satellite news channel....

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