Broadcast’s Hannah Gannagé-Stewart on Save Our BBC Campaign
BBC pressure group demands audience forum
Campaign group Save Our BBC has called for the creation of a licence fee payers’ forum as the government prepares to publish the BBC’s draft charter.
The campaign group has published a 57-page report, supported by Cardiff University, setting out the need for greater accountability to licence fee payers and the public.
It calls on the BBC, the BBC Trust, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Ofcom to support plans to create an online forum as parliament prepares to debate the charter agreement.
The draft charter and framework agreement are expected to be published in the next fortnight, although this could be delayed until October due to conference recess. The draft will be debated in both houses of parliament and the devolved nations before going to the privy council for final approval.
Save Our BBC conducted a five-month inquiry examining the role the public should have in the governance of the BBC, after claiming that the issue had been overlooked in the Clementi review and previous charter review inquiries.
The group has argued that neither Ofcom or the new unitary board will be able to represent licence fee payers without creating conflicts of interest.
Save Our BBC strategic director Peter Blackman said: “From the wide-ranging submissions to our independent inquiry, we conclude that the licence fee payers expect the BBC to be more accountable to them and engage more with them”.
The report suggested all BBC board members would be accountable to the forum.
At present four audience councils represent the views of audiences but Save Our BBC argues that the system is flawed as it is not representative. It has also raised concerns that the BBC is not accountable to the councils, which only exist in an advisory capacity.
According to Save Our BBC, all licence fee payers should be able to contribute to the forum online.