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A new head of the BBC appointed in the face of our petition

Last week, OurKingdom launched a petition asking that the new Director General of the BBC be appointed transparently and openly. Today a closed-door decision was made. Have they learned anything?

OurKingdom Ourkingdom
22 November 2012

Well, we gave them a fright!

On Sunday 11th November, Chris Patten announced that the BBC Trust would appoint yet another Director General to run the most important cultural and current affairs institution in the land, “within weeks”. We thought, “Hell no, not another old boy fix”. OurBeeb decided to call for any candidates who the BBC Trust considered to first publish a short statement of their vision and principles for the public.

  • It is not just that the Director General is a public office, earning over three times the Prime Minister’s salary.
  • It is not just that the BBC needs to be accountable to the public.
  • It is also that independent public service broadcasting is essential for a democracy.

We want the BBC to flourish, and be strong enough to defend itself from its obvious enemies. To do so, it must be open and accountable, and headed by someone who can speak out in a digital age and will answer to the public.

We launched a petition on the 15th calling for an open and transparent appointment. It got favourable media coverage including in The Guardian and the Evening Standard. Stephen Fry, Brian Eno, Juliet Stevenson, Quentin Letts and Suzanne Moore all backed us. MPs said they would support us. The Director of the Trust answered our request for a meeting saying "of course" he had heard of it - but that they wanted to appoint  “very quickly”. 

Our campaign is now over. But it is continuing to make an impact. We wish Tony Hall the best of luck as the incoming boss of the BBC and OurBeeb will seek to engage with him. This is a new start for the BBC, and a new chance for the Corporation to really belong to, and work for, the public. 

For this to happen, we need a public debate on the Corporation. That's why on 10 December we are holding a meeting about the future of the BBC at the Café Oto in Dalston. Do join us! Advance tickets are on sale

And for those who signed, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Together, we gave them a fright. Now let's make sure it is not forgotten.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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