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    Monday, 14 May 2007

    'An Unworkable Fudge': Dyke on the BBC Trust

    Greg Dyke - the former Director-General of the BBC - has offered stinging criticism of the design of the new governance structures regulating the activities of the BBC, and in particular of the role of the BBC Trust. He was speaking last week before the parliamentary Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. His evidence was reported in the MediaGuardian, but has yet to published on the Committee's own webpage.

    Dyke considered that the BBC would not be able to implement strategic decisions quickly enough because they have to be approved by the BBC Trust. He contrasted the launch of Freeview in 2002, with the delay in the approval of the (comparatively limited) iPlayer. Certainly, processes such as the public value test are lengthy, and there is the suspicion that complaint to the Trust has already become a standard delaying tactic for competitors of the BBC.

    Dyke expressed further concern that the creation of the arms-length BBC Trust has left the corporation and its Director General without an adequate champion in public debate. He suggested that retention of a BBC Chairman and the establishment of an independent regulator - OfBeeb - would have been preferable. He also commented on the settlement on the licence fee, which he thought was about what could have been expected. Elsewhere, it has recently been reiterated that the BBC's tactics in those negotiations has won it few friends in government.

    Tomorrow, Ed Richards - Chief Executive Officer of Ofcom - is due to be offering evidence to the same Select Committee on its public service media content inquiry. The inquiry has already received evidence (reported on the Ctte's webpage) from a range of interested parties, including the BBC, C4, ITV, and representatives of the radio sector. The session may shed further light on the public service publisher concept.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    An interesting article in the Guardian today picks up Dyke's comments, and suggests further that internal bureaucracy and power struggles have also played their part in the slowing of innovation within the BBC.

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