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BBC's independence is "non-negotiable" says Byford

Category : BBC
Date : 31.03.2004
Printable version

Mark Byford, Acting Director-General, BBC, today committed himself to defending the BBC's independence, which he described as "non-negotiable".


He also used the Gladstone Lecture at the Foreign Press Association to outline the BBC's proposals for Charter Review and said it was time "to recognise (the BBC) as one of Britain's greatest assets, enriching people's lives here and around the world with an outstanding portfolio of programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain."


Citing a broad range of examples from Panorama's recent Saddam on the Run and this Sunday's report by Fergal Keane returning to Rwanda, Mark Byford argued that BBC journalism had not "lost its bite".


"The idea that I or anyone else in the BBC would do anything to undermine the integrity of our journalism is utter nonsense.


"Anyone who believes otherwise doesn't understand the BBC and certainly doesn't know me.


"We remain totally committed to delivering reliable news; expert analysis, intelligent debate and courageous, ground-breaking original journalism.


"And we will provide those precious commodities – independence and impartiality in all we do."


Mark Byford said the BBC's international broadcasting services could strengthen connections with global audiences.


"We can start the global conversation which can be an antidote to ignorance, hostility and hatred. That antidote is based on a belief in openness, tolerance and mutual understanding," he said.


By building on strong foundations internationally the BBC will be more, rather than less, significant in the future.


He said: "I see our reach and reputation providing the platform for a deeper, wider dialogue among and between different cultures.


"This is how we will encourage tolerance and understanding. This is how we can make a difference to people's lives around the world."


On Charter Review, building the public value of the BBC's television, radio and interactive services would be a cornerstone of the BBC's approach, Mark Byford told the audience.


"Consolidation and competition in commercial broadcasting increasingly emphasises the private value of broadcasting. The BBC's role must be to focus on delivering the public value of broadcasting – something everyone can share in.


"And by public value I mean the difference we can make to the quality of life in the UK through what we can deliver to people as individual consumers of our services but also as citizens. In other words, our contribution to society as a whole."


Mark Byford ended by saying: "We want to meet the challenge of Charter review head on.


"Our vision is for a strong, independent, creative powerhouse, serving audiences with an outstanding portfolio of programmes and services.


"The most creative organisation in Britain, adding public value to life in Britain."



Category : BBC
Date : 31.03.2004
Printable version


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