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The case is building for an end to BBC 'balance'

The BBC is required to provide impartial analysis of public affairs. It invented “balance” to avoid this obligation. It has been found out; it must mend its ways; or else.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
Lord Puttnam has spoken out against the BBC's interpretation of 'impartiality'. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / PA Images

The case is building for an end to BBC 'balance'

The BBC is required to provide impartial analysis of public affairs. It invented “balance” to avoid this obligation. It has been found out; it must mend its ways; or else.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
Lord Puttnam has spoken out against the BBC's interpretation of 'impartiality'. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / PA Images

Lessons from Rio: how can the BBC compete with bigger sports broadcasters?

As the Rio Olympics draws to a close, we take a look at the how the BBC can protect itself from losing out to broadcasters like Sky and BT Sport.

The BBC must improve how it reports statistics

The BBC has a unique position in British society, with a reputation for fairness, impartiality, and usefulness.

Public service austerity broadcasts

Public service broadcasters are implicated in legitimising neoliberal policies in response to political and economic crisis. The coverage of RTÉ, for example, invited Irish viewers to cheer on the forces of technocratic fiscal responsibility.

Independence Day for the BBC?

In an uncertain ‘Brexit Britain’, we must ensure that the BBC remains a public broadcaster, as free as possible from state interference.

How the BBC can create a better digital public sphere

The BBC’s remit is not just broadcast. It has the power to improve our experiences online, and to realise the digital public sphere we want.

The case is building for an end to BBC 'balance'

The BBC is required to provide impartial analysis of public affairs. It invented “balance” to avoid this obligation. It has been found out; it must mend its ways; or else.

Chilcot: the Kamel that broke Straw’s back

Who should have scrutinized government assertions on Iraqi WMD with greater commitment, demanding evidence? Other MPs? The BBC?

Was truth the casualty of the BBC’s impartiality rules?

Following a referendum campaign in which the UK media has been accused of failing in their duty to educate, momentum is building to scrap, or revise, the BBC's impartiality rules.

If dissensus is the new normal in Britain, we need a new media

An inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting in Britain launched its report days after the Brexit vote. It holds important clues to how we deal with the current breakdown of consensus.

Lord Puttnam: the BBC must confront a "total" loss of trust

The film producer and chair of a major inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting calls on the BBC to help rebuild trust in Brexit Britain.

The press didn’t divide us – we were already divided…

Britain's divisions weren't invented by the media.

The history of channel 4: separate tables

Part of a series of irreverent sketches by David Lloyd, on his personal experience of Channel 4's early years. 

The history of channel 4: spirit and purpose

Channel 4 was born with a remit to innovate and experiment, values that are now under threat. No drastic changes should be made without a wide-ranging public debate. 

The history of channel 4: how David beat Goliath

The long battle to create Channel 4 was an unequal one that pitted the public interest against giant corporate and political forces. Remarkably, the little guys won. 

The history of channel 4: a twenty year gestation

When Channel 4 was born in 1982, it owed its conception to creative visionaries who had been lobbying, briefing and cajoling for nigh on two decades. 

Is the BBC safe in Ofcom’s hands?

Ofcom may soon regulate the BBC, yet we know it already struggles to treat the public as citizens and not just consumers.

Don’t shoot the messenger: a response to Leah Borromeo

Years of budget cuts have hindered the documentary world’s freedom to invest in new voices. A new funding structure is needed across the industry to support working class talent.    

The BBC’s Question Time can no longer be a megaphone for lies

If the BBC is to take balance seriously, during the referendum period and beyond, it can’t leave panellists to voice untruths, unchecked.

The fate of public service broadcasting

Uncritical defenders of public service broadcasting have turned a blind eye to its decline. This is not a time for conservatism but for long overdue transformation. 

Paying to beg at the Sheffield Doc/Fest

From extortionate ticket prices to networking events for the privileged the UK’s biggest documentary festival excludes many talented filmmakers. This is particularly ironic given the democratic concerns of the form. 

Podcast: how might privatisation affect Channel 4?

A discussion about Channel 4 with its CEO David Abraham reveals much about privatisation plans and possible futures for British broadcasting. 

TV Diversity: there may be trouble ahead

A briefing to MPs on the government’s plans for tackling inadequate representation in British broadcasting.  

The BBC is failing the public in its coverage of government surveillance

Historically close to Britain’s national security state, the BBC is still its friend today.

Let's scrap the impartiality rules holding back British broadcasters

The EU referendum is fast approaching, and British TV is failing to engage the public. It's time to look again at ‘impartiality’ rules that prevent broadcasters from fulfilling their democratic remit. 

The BBC and British branding

The corporation’s claims to the public and to neutrality are crucial for the British state and its power across the globe. 

The BBC has lost touch: here's how it could re-connect

A filmmaker advises BBC news staff on how to better engage with the harsh realities of life for many in Britain.

What would an autonomous BBC look like?

Proposals for a ‘unitary board’ represent a serious threat to the BBC’s independence. The corporation must use this Charter to reconfigure itself as a network, resilient to top-down interference. 

A roadmap for the BBC’s support of local journalism

Instead of strengthening the UK’s local news monopolies, here’s how the BBC could support civic journalism.

The BBC White Paper show

The run up to last week’s government white paper was filled with scare stories about a war against the BBC. The final document could scarcely have been more pleasing for the corporation.

Let’s not shatter the fragile ecology of British broadcasting

While the government's plans for the BBC are under scrutiny, the future of Britain's hugely successful system of public service broadcasting is at risk.

What does contestable funding mean for children's TV in Britain?

The government’s proposals for the BBC include creating a public service fund to prop up children’s content. 

Sharing the licence fee could reinvigorate the BBC

Yes, let's share the licence fee with producers outside of the BBC. But why not include news and bring British broadcasting into the 21st century?

Advertisers are celebrating the government's plans for the BBC

The BBC White Paper advances commercial interests to expand advertiser-supported media at the expense of the public’s wish for ad-free public broadcasting. 

What is the vision behind the BBC White Paper?

Listen to a discussion about the long-term implications of this week’s government White Paper on the future of the BBC. 

The BBC may soon be unable to compete

The requirement for output to be “distinctive”, coupled with the growth of media consortia, could force the BBC out of the game.

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