Public will review BBC royal charter

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched the public consultation component of its review of the BBC’s charter.

“Previous charter reviews have been conducted in a range of ways, by the great and the good. By ministers and civil servants,” said Media Secretary Tessa Jowell at the launch last week.

“But this review will be different. For the first time the driving force will be the British people. Through the licence fee, they are in effect the BBC’s shareholders.”

Jowell announced the department’s desire for the public’s involvement in the run-up to the review due on 1 January, 2007, at the Royal Television Society’s biennial media convention in September.

The department published a document entitled Review of the BBC’s Royal Charter to accompany the launch, which posed questions for the public to ponder, including what it values most about the BBC, whether the BBC should run commercial services and how to ensure the BBC is properly accountable to the public and Parliament.

The BBC said it “welcomed” the department’s questions for the public, adding it would carry out its own programme of events “to stimulate wide debate about the BBC’s future among all audiences”, within its output until the public consultation’s deadline on 31 March, 2004.

By Wale Azeez

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