only search openDemocracy.net

This week's editor

“Phoebe

Phoebe Braithwaite is openDemocracy’s submissions editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Funding and the Licence Fee

Colombia and the plebiscite: the peace that wasn’t

Peace in Colombia is now entering an unpredictable labyrinth. Español

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.

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.

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.

Decoding the BBC White Paper

Apocalyptic rumours followed by a row-back and relief. It's an age-old strategy, but what's the reality behind the government's BBC proposals?

On Whittingdale and the power of press silence

The ability of the British press to effectively suppress a scandal speaks volumes about the dangers of concentrated media.

The Whittingdale file: a plea for better journalism

It's a mystery as to why the national newspapers chose not to expose a juicy story about the UK culture secretary. But claiming that his policies were 'influenced' by the 'suppression' of the story is pure conjecture.

‘Red-tape’ is at the heart of the BBC’s democratic remit

The so-called ‘sharing economy’ is composed largely of opaque shoddily managed companies. Rather than mimicking these models, the BBC must make the case for improving and developing its much-lamented bureaucracy.   

The Clementi Review must strengthen BBC independence

Sir David Clementi’s recommendations on BBC governance must be made to work. This means ensuring that Ofcom doesn’t become a ‘back seat driver’.

Brexit and the BBC: a tough call for Britain's culture secretary?

Given his very public role in the anti-EU campaign, John Whittingdale must be seen to be scrupulously fair in the debate over the BBC's future.

Channel 4: the case for privatisation

Privatisation may be the best way to strengthen Channel 4's public service remit.

Under construction: the BBC’s relationship with freelancers

In order to innovate in the new media environment the BBC must build a new system for working with freelancers.  

The BBC in the brave new China

After the box office success of BBC drama Sherlock, a look at who is accessing the BBC in China, and why.

The growing gap between private and public in European broadcasting

We’re told the BBC is ‘too big’. Yet Britain is part of a Europe-wide trend where funding for public service is shrinking, while commercial revenue grows.

Current and future threats to public service broadcasting

While today we still stand on secure ground, are we about to witness a fairly catastrophic scenario for the future of Public Service Broadcasting?

Towards better broadcasting in Wales

Public service broadcasting in Wales is on a knife-edge and there are loud demands for reform. The response will cast light on whether Wales is genuinely seen as a full partner within the UK.

Why does the BBC see the future of television production as a commercial venture?

The BBC plans to take the bulk of its television programme production out of its public service division to create a separate commercial body, BBC Studios, which would be a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC Group.

Is the BBC licence fee still up for grabs?

John Whittingdale says the July agreement did not settle the BBC licence fee: is this a Government U-turn?

The BBC and the over-75s: what is the truth?

The BBC viscerally opposes subscription: it wants universal access to homes that only criminal enforcement can deliver.

What can and should the BBC do about local news?  

The Government want BBC to provide for market failure, except in the one instance where there is a clear case for it, the delivery of local news.

BBC Green Paper: red alert on funding

The government has promised a nit-picking examination of all the BBC does, focusing on how to redefine its mission as well as reform and improve its services in the internet age.

The licence fee is a fetter on the BBC

The creative and journalistic ambitions of the BBC are held back by its dogmatic commitment to an ineffective and unethical funding mechanism. A subscription service would release creative energy and allow the BBC to fulfil its commitment to public service broadcasting all the better.

Editor's blog: £3m for Clarkson, £42m for CBeebies - how the BBC spends its money

There are some fascinating insights into how much each BBC channel costs, and how they're paid for, in the Annual Report. But should we be so obsessed with cost in public service broadcasting to begin with?

ourBeeb podcast 1: Claire Enders, Britain's leading media analyst

The first audio highlights of an ourBeeb discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing the BBC, featuring the CEO of Enders Analysis.

The BBC and the future of broadcasting: special report from Enders Analysis

The first report from a scintillating ourBeeb discussion with Claire Enders, Britain's leading media analyst, finds the BBC at a digital crossroads, but holding up remarkably well.

A Freedom of Information request, the BBC, and the case for subscription

The BBC’s paternalistic conflation of the license fee with universalism is increasingly indefensible against competing examples of public service programming. While the organisation is tight-lipped about the future of its funding model this information must be made available to those who currently foot the bill. 

How much did the BBC spend on the Hackney Weekend - and why won’t they tell us?

Should the BBC's mission to inform, educate and entertain incorporate hosting free music festivals for 100,000 people? Last month's Hackney Weekend was generally deemed a big success, but why aren't we allowed to know how much it cost, when we paid for it?

Nationalise the BBC

Throughout its history, the stature of the BBC has depended upon an active suppression of nationality - silencing popular sovereignty through the transmission of British state ideology. Only by nationalisation can the deep changes be made that would enable the institution to provide a truly public service. 

A corporation run by bankers, not journalists: who are the BBC Trust?

Private industry is extremely well represented among the Beeb's trustees and directors, from bankers to energy and security firm executives. How does this square with the BBC's public service remit?

Fight for the World Service: the globally respected voice of Britain is getting fainter

The BBC World Service has lost resources and its much loved home in Bush House; by 2014 it will have lost a quarter of its staff and its traditional source of funding. What hope is there for the institution Kofi Annan called "Britain's greatest gift to the world in the twentieth century"?

Fairer, better quality, more dynamic: the end of the licence fee and the case for subscription

The retention of the unique licence fee system for funding the BBC has sustained a lot of criticism in recent years, but with 95% of British households paying the fee, the defence usually centres on its guarantee of universalism. Is that a misnomer - and would a subscription model not be better for everyone?

Trust, universalism and funding the BBC: video highlights of a debate with Greg Dyke

Video highlights of a debate over the future of the BBC with Greg Dyke, Lis Howell, Liz Forgan, Helena Kennnedy, David Elstein and Anthony Barnett, on trust, legitimacy, universalism and how to pay for them regarding Britain's public service broadcaster. 

Change or die: the future of the BBC

The BBC is one of Britain's great institutions. But, like all other public broadcasters, it faces threats from the internet, the government, and the modern television system. How can it best overcome these challenges, adapt, and survive? 

Syndicate content