Ofcom: ‘BBC governors should go’

Ofcom has said that its sees some value in scrapping the BBC governors and taking over commercial regulation of the corporation – a move that would be welcomed by many media owners and some advertisers.

Its final report on public service broadcasting, published yesterday (Tuesday), has given some support to Lord Burn’s government report, which called for the BBC governors to be axed.

Advertisers and media owners have been saying for many years that the BBC has been allowed to use licence-fee payers’ money to launch new services such as websites, digital television channels and magazines in areas where they are already provided by the commercial sector.

In a statement the BBC says: “Ofcom has produced a comprehensive report about public service broadcasting in the UK including recommendations for regulatory authority over the BBC. The governors believe these arrangements are working well and see no reason to start trying to undo any of them.”

Ofcom’s report also concludes that there is “no immediate case” for the direct public funding of Channel 4, which has argued that it faces a deficit of £100m a year by 2009. It has also confirmed that ITV will be allowed to reduce its non-news regional programming in England, halving its current obligations, and it has stuck with recommendations for a new public service publisher, as first suggested in its initial report published last October.

This final report has been put out for consultation until April 19.

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