Archive for June, 2012

What to do about the BBC

June 14, 2012


The curious thing about the UK’s Leveson Inquiry is the absence of mention of the BBC and its role in our media. While the State owns it, we the taxpayers, have neither control nor influence over its policies or activities. Certainly there are focus groups, complaint processes and all sorts of representation built in to its governance model, but the reality is, at its own admission, a left-biased organisation self reinforced by highly selective recruitment processes. The appointment of its “regulators” chairman has virtually assured a new DG of a leftish leaning. It is by far the most influential media group in the country, the one that no politician dare cross, irrespective of party. Its market share in television, in radio, in local radio, in on-line content and in various print media individually and collectively rivals and exceeds the influence of, for example, the Murdoch’s. So why is it free to do and influence as it likes? One answer is lack of accountability, but there is an answer in the much loved John Lewis model. What if the BBC had meetings at which licence holders could vote? Clearly given the penalty for not having a licence, the licence holders, as a cohort, are the most representative and diverse any public body could wish for. They have also paid for everything and legitimately may wish to influence everything. So why not implement stakeholder’s annual meetings? Along the lines of company law such meetings could review executive remuneration and hold executives to account. One licence holder, one vote. Who could possibly argue that such a process would not be democratic, inclusive, equal and desirable?