I have waded through the very long document that is aiming to prompt discussion about the future of the BBC. It was a challenge to go through the many pages dissecting the organisation and its output but I felt as a communication professional it was important to do.
The green paper was a clinical review of the organisation and it felt as though it was working from a starting point that change was necessary regardless of the feedback. The language is at times incredibly negative and is being developed to skew the discussion in my opinion. There appears to be a distrust of anything that is popular with the paper suggesting that if it is liked by many people then it shouldn’t be created by a public broadcaster.
Believe me I don’t have some rosy view of the BBC. They have caused me many problems at work over the years and I have often queried some of their journalistic priorities. Despite all this I value having a broadcaster that isn’t dictated to by the advertisers and has the opportunity to do things a bit differently. I don’t mind that I pay into it provided that the maximum amount is being spent on delivering quality programmes.
I agree that, as with any large organisation, the BBC should review how and where it spends the money it has. But I don’t believe that we should start from a wholesale cull of the channels and the output. The variety should be valued and protected. It is the BBC that were able to support some amazing documentaries that my team have been involved in developing including the recent one The Detectives. I worry that this may not be something that happens in the future.
The BBC News Channel must remain. If we end up with only paid for news channels perhaps we will see a more Fox News style than we have been used to. Again the variety is what we must protect. The same must be said for the BBC news website, just because it is successful does not mean that it has some monopoly that must be broken up. Value the quality journalism that exists.
I would recommend that everyone takes the time to read through the Government’s green paper and make comments about what they believe the future should look like. If we don’t speak up then whatever happens we will have to live with it.