BBC jeopardising its reputation

MPs have told the BBC it must rein in its commercial operations in a report that found that the BBC Worldwide risked “jeopardising” the corporation’s reputation.

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has criticised controversial deals such as the £118m acquisition of the Lonely Planet travel book group.

The Committee, which today (April 7) published a report into the BBC, made several recommendations, including stronger governance of the BBC’s commercial activities; and the lowering of the threshold at which a commercial transaction is referred to the BBC Trust from £50m to £30m.

The report was sceptical over the proposed partnership between the BBC Worldwide and Channel 4. It instead recommended that a proportion of the licence fee be made available to Channel 4 to sustain its public service programming.

John Whittingdale, committee chairman and Conservative MP for Maldon and East Chelmsford, says: “In many cases there is no reason why the BBC need undertake commercial activities itself and where it does there should be a clear link to BBC programming,.

“There is a balance to be drawn between generating a return for the BBC and preventing damage to its commercial competitors.”

The BBC Trust has responded by saying that it is already reviewing the role of BBC Worldwide and looking into the issues that have been raised.

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