PSB Review: Ofcom urged to listen
BECTU has today urged Ofcom to listen to all stakeholders affected by the regulator’s second review into public service broadcasting.
BECTU has previously criticised the regulator for apparently preferring the voice of business to the voice of consumers and other stakeholders, as it seeks to fulfil its responsibility "to maintain and strengthen" public service broadcasting.
“Too often Ofcom’s fine words have proved empty as viewers and workers in the industry are left severely shortchanged by the end result of their deliberations.”
"Too often Ofcom’s fine words have proved empty as viewers and workers in the industry are left severely shortchanged by the end result of their deliberations." commented a BECTU spokesperson.
“Children's TV and ITV regional news are just two of the areas which have suffered markedly from Ofcom’s failure to push the boundaries of its regulatory powers since its first review into PSB.
"Children’s TV producers are now struggling, and a creative force has been severely compromised, partly because Ofcom failed to tackle ITV effectively about its schedule.
"ITV’s announcement last week that it still intends massive cuts to its regional news operation, and furthermore in a way which threatens every regional news room, is something which Ofcom should be making a public statement on." BECTU continued.
BECTU will be campaigning vigorously to ensure that PSB is strengthened as a result of this second review and will work with others who wish to do the same.
BECTU’s opposition to the top-slicing of the BBC licence fee is a matter of record. Two large-scale rounds of cuts, the second of which is currently being implemented, will dramatically increase the pressures on programme-makers going forward. Any further artificial reduction in the BBC’s income, to fund competitors in the provision of PSB, will make nonsense of high profile statements which support the BBC’s continued role as the cornerstone of PSB in the UK.
"Today Ed Richards [Ofcom's Chief Executive] said there will be no trade off between maintaining the BBC as the cornerstone of PSB in the UK and the funding of alternative PSB providers. We will work to ensure that OFCOM is as good as its word.” BECTU concluded.
Today’s launch by Ofcom of its first consultation exercise is in effect “a call to arms” to all those who care about public service broadcasting; BECTU’s industrial sectors, particularly for the BBC, Independent Broadcasting, and London and Regional Production, will be considering the document and contributing to the union’s formal submission to Ofcom. Submissions have been requested no later than 19 June.
In addition to the formal consultation, Ofcom has also launched an online blog to help people to debate the issues in the review.
Thursday 10 April 2008