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The BBC Charter Must be Amended

Summary:
When the BBC Charter was renewed in 2016 much of the wording and intention was based on an assumed continuation of EU membership.  The wording of the Charter was extended so that it was implied that the BBC would serve an international audience as much as a domestic audience.In the 2016 Charter the purpose of the BBC is to operate so that: "all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues""the  BBC  should  provide  high-quality  news  coverage  to  international  audiences"In other words the BBC is authorised to provide an International News channel that is separate from the World Service.  In 2018 the BBC used this authorisation to address a global audience by merging world and domestic news using "the integration of the

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When the BBC Charter was renewed in 2016 much of the wording and intention was based on an assumed continuation of EU membership.  The wording of the Charter was extended so that it was implied that the BBC would serve an international audience as much as a domestic audience.

In the 2016 Charter the purpose of the BBC is to operate so that:

"all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues"

"the  BBC  should  provide  high-quality  news  coverage  to  international  audiences"

In other words the BBC is authorised to provide an International News channel that is separate from the World Service.  In 2018 the BBC used this authorisation to address a global audience by merging world and domestic news using "the integration of the Newsgathering’s World and Home teams and also the relocation of World Service staff to sit alongside Public Service colleagues." (See A Simpler BBC).

The BBC Charter Must be Amended

The BBC is supported by a Licence fee that is paid by the UK audience and much of this audience believes that the BBC is a National broadcaster with the interests of the Nation at heart.  However, the changes in BBC News structure after the 2016 Charter and the merger of global and national news has resulted in the UK being treated by BBC news reporters and editors as if it were just another country.

This demotion of the UK to just another country is most evident when British foreign policy is being reported.  The reports take the standpoint of some external observer working for an imaginary global government who reports that the British want this and the Chinese desire that, the EU wants this and the British are obstructing them etc.  There is little attempt to explain the issue from a British point of view.  These reports are used for both domestic and foreign consumption.

The demotion of the UK also leads to BBC World interview panels with one Internationalist UK representative being sat alongside three foreign representatives so that all four are publicly attacking UK policies.  Any traveller who has watched BBC News from a foreign hotel room knows that even CNN or RT provide a kinder view of the UK abroad than the BBC.

The only solution to this problem is to form a new organisation - World News (WN) - that incorporates BBC Global News and the World Service.  WN should be entirely separate from the BBC and licenced by the Foreign Office.

The problem of the BBC failing to represent the UK originates in the wording of the Charter.  The 2016 Charter replaced the duty in the 2006 Charter of "representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;" with a duty of providing a "duly accurate and authentic portrayal and representation of the diverse communities of the whole of the United Kingdom."  In 2006 the BBC was charged with representing the UK and in 2016 this had been changed to the BBC being charged to portray the United Kingdom accurately.  This is an important change because it relieves the BBC of the duty to be British and represent Britain in the world.

We can see from the change in the wording of the Charter that the change was deliberate and sly.  The changed text is also redundant because the BBC has a duty in the 2016 Charter to portray all news accurately and fairly.

British Licence Fee payers are financing a Corporation that does not have their interests at heart.  BBC News works on its own behalf, it does not represent the UK to the world, and its interests are now international, not British.  It is unfair to charge a licence fee in these circumstances and we must either change the BBC by restoring its duty to the United Kingdom or abolish the licence fee.

21/5/2020

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