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Daily View: The future of the BBC

Clare Spencer | 10:32 UK time, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

BBCCommentators assess the BBC's strategic review which includes the closure of two radio stations.

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian thinks the changes are politically motivated:

"So why has Mark Thompson done it? Because he feared that if he didn't jump from the second storey window, an incoming Conservative government would push him off the roof. He is right to be anxious. The Tories have indeed signalled a hostility to the BBC that is rare, if not unprecedented, in an opposition. Why might that be? Two words: Rupert Murdoch.
People often speak of the unique influence of the media magnate, with his combination of economic and political muscle, but "influence" doesn't quite capture it. Instead David Cameron has simply allowed News Corp to write the Conservative party's media policy."

Lily Allen writes in the Guardian that the closure of 6 Music will be bad for new music:

"The only way this decision will be palatable is if they incorporate the elements of BBC 6 Music that strike a chord with the public into one of their other channels, such as Radio 2. That would mean making a commitment to showcasing new and unsigned bands, not just bands on major labels, and giving space to bands who haven't got a platform anywhere else, not just the next hyped act. But honestly I don't feel very hopeful that this will happen."

The Daily Mail editorial calls the BBC a sprawling media monolith and says the cuts don't go far enough:

"Its subsidised presence in far too many parts of the media is slowly squeezing the life out of commercial rivals. Yesterday's package of measures looks like the minimum that the BBC thinks it can get away with to fend off a rising tide of criticism."

The Telegraph editorial calls the plans embarrassing:

"Instead of fixing what is wrong, the review illustrates perfectly the corporation's failings. Political and cynical in equal measure, this is a smoke-and-mirrors operation designed to give the impression of radical reform, while actually amounting to little more than a rearrangement of the deckchairs."

Channel 4 ex-chairman Luke Johnson told the BBC's World at One that the proposals doesn't go far enough:

"Why have they not committed to scrapping all imported shows and stopping showing of all Hollywood movies? And why are they continuing in funding BBC3 and BBC4 and why are they taking so long to bring in these changes? Why 2013? If they were the private sector they would do these things a lot quicker."

An ex-chairman of the BBC Board of Governors Sir Christopher Bland says in the Independent he supports the review:

"Of course, the Daily Mail and News International are never going to be happy until the head of the director general is served up on a silver plate, but they're wrong. The BBC remains one of the greatest cultural organisations not only in the United Kingdom but the world."

Hamish McRae in the Independent also supports the review:

"There is a case for splitting the public service element away from the showbiz side. But we should tread cautiously, feeling our way, preferring to make a series of small changes that can if necessary be reversed, rather than propounding some radical vision that will seem absurd in another 10 years' time. This is something that is good. It needs to be nudged, not caned."

Links in full

GuardianGuardian | BBC: A rush to cuts
GuardianJonathan Freedland | Guardian | The BBC is caving in to a Tory media policy
GuardianEmily Bell | Guardian | BBC might look as if it's in retreat. But its dominance remains
GuardianLily Allen | Guardian | Why we must save BBC 6 Music
MailDaily Mail | The BBC is making a start but it will still dominate British broadcasting
TelegraphTelegraph | The BBC: from national treasure to broadcasting bully
IndependentHamish McRae | Independent | Now it's the BBC's turn to experience a dose of reality
IndependentIndependent | This is not the revolution that the BBC needs
IndependentSir Christopher Bland | Independent | Radical change in Corporation's vision of itself
IndependentNerm | Independent | Don't close down these valued radio stations
BBC NewsBBC Radio 4 blog | The BBC strategic review on WATO

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