Category : BBC
Date : 31.03.2004
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
"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,"
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
"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
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
"The most creative organisation in Britain, adding
public value to life in Britain."