“The foundations of the BBC’s independence became weaker. The traditions and informal arrangements which protected it had been eroded. Politicians had not done this deliberately – it happened under all parties.“First, the licence fee was spent on things that were not directly to do with broadcasting. On digital switchover. On rural broadband and local TV. Then twice it was settled without a full process.”
Monday, 23 November 2015
BBC Dir Gen hints at OfCom switch
Tony Hall is arguably the worst leader the Been has had since Thatcher, enraged at the Peacock Report's refusal to back BBC privatisation, appointed the free market zealot John Birt as director general.
His internal market reforms saw a bloated bureaucracy balloon as internal departments had to treat each other as commercial concerns, and tended for everything.
Hall has caved in to government pressure to agree to taking on a government welfare policy, free license fees for pensioners (the high-voting group it is prioritizing public spending on whilst slashing spending on the young), widely seen as a fundamental undermining of the BBC's supposed independence from government.
Now he's showing some awareness of this, albeit arguably belated and without diluting his own free market reforms, and cuts to youth-centred output (youth channel BBC3 will go off-air shortly, with rumours about Radio1 and Radio6).
He's arguing that the BBC should be externally regulated, that funding reviews should be by the decade not in five yearly cycles that make it easy for governments to exert pressure, that major shifts in BBC direction should require the assent of 2/3 of parliament, with online votes from the public over smaller decisions too.
It's a detailed article; here he is on how things seemed to have changed when he rejoined the BBC in 2013 after years away: