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Chris Jones Chris Jones | 11:38 UK time, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hello, and welcome to the About the BBC blog. We'll be using this blog as a place where decision makers and experts can talk about things going on inside the BBC. This could include anything; from major announcements to how parts of the corporation operate. We'll also be highlighting and linking to the fascinating debates happening on the many other blogs, message boards and other social media, inside and outside the BBC website.

Above all, this blog is about openness and accountability to you, the licence fee payer, so we really hope that you'll tell us what you think by adding your comments. You'll need to sign in to contribute if you're new to BBC Blogs, but creating your membership is quick and easy.

We pre-moderate comments which means we read all your comments before we publish them. We won't publish comments that break the house rules and may also remove comments that stray off the topic. You can read our full terms and conditions here.

And while we hope that we can occasionally respond to your comments, please remember that adding a comment is not the same as contacting us. If you want to make a point that is not related to the blog, or you would like your views to be recorded and passed on please contact us.

I really hope you enjoy the writing and insights that will unfold here in the next few months, and that you, in turn, feel inspired to contribute to those stories that make the BBC such an exciting place today.

Chris Jones - Editor


  • Comment number 1.

    I fully understand the desire of the BBC to avoid censorship. I was born only 4 years after WW2 which was fought not least for freedom of expression. However it was also fought to prevent a recurrence of the genocide which was the logical outcome of the Nazis' crazy racism. As I grew up, racism was endemic in Britain - Afrikaners fought a rearguard as did the "good ole boys" in Africa and the US. Now I'm pleased to say that,especially among the young, racism is mostly viewed as more unacceptable than drin-driving. I am horrified to see Oswald Mosely's successor being given the chance to re-establish the tyranny of the respectability of racist views in a highly- thought of programme

  • Comment number 2.

    I embrace the chance to see Griffin make a fool of himself.

    Hopefully the people of this country will be able to also see Griffin as a fool, but I'm concerned that one man's fool is another (lay)man's messiah.

  • Comment number 3.

    We live in a democracy, we live in a society of free speech, no matter how abhorrent some of us may think Griffin and his opinions are, we are obliged to let him speak. By doing so we will hear his manifesto and expose it (and him) for what it is.

    It is only by having these discussions that we, as a society, will be able to break down racial intolerance and expose bigots such as Griffin for what they are.

    It's sad that racial intolerance still exists, but without having these debates it's postponing and not accelerating the rejection of everything he stands for.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks very much for these comments, and welcome to our new blog! For further debate around this particular issue you may want to add your comments here.

  • Comment number 5.

    Thanks, Chris for the introduction of the welcome of this
    newest blog!

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 6.

    I fully support the BBC in its decision to invite Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time. I do not agree with his views but as a leader of a political party I believe he is allowed to put forward his views and have the other members of the panel and the audience hold him to account.
    Well done BBC for being impartial

  • Comment number 7.

    This is a welcome development but could we avoid the term 'licence fee payer' THe BBC's Charter says it doesn't really mean 'licence fee payer' and in any case the license fee is paid by a household or a premises to received authorised live broadcast TV programmes.

    Here's what the BBC Trust told me:

    The Trust works for the public which owns and pays for the BBC; the
    licence fee payers. In the BBC's Royal Charter it states that
    "...reference to a "licence fee payer" is not to be taken literally but
    includes, not only a person to whom a TV licence is issued...but also
    (so far as is sensible in the context) any other person in the UK who
    watches, listens to or uses any BBC service, or may wish to do so in the

    The Charter also states that the Trust is the guardian of the licence
    fee revenue and the public interest in the BBC. The Trust has the
    ultimate responsibility, subject to the provisions of the Charter, for -

    a) the BBC's stewardship of the licence fee revenue and its other
    b) upholding the public interest within the BBC, particularly the
    interests of licence fee payers; and
    c) securing the effective promotion of the Public Purposes

    In terms of information which people are asked to provide when making a
    submission to a consultation, as explained on the Trust's website, the
    information can help the Trust understand more about what the diversity
    of licence fee payers ( my note: as defined in the charter') think about BBC services, and identify and make improvements to how it consults with licence fee payers.

    As the website mentions, the Trust has a duty to engage with and
    represent all licence fee payers (see my previous note) in all their diversity. All submissions are taken into account, and any information provided is in no way used to determine the eligibility of a submission.

    In other words the BBC is responsible to everybody who happens to be physically in the UK at any given time..... the public.

  • Comment number 8.

    I was taken aback by Question Time. I have met Bonnie Greer and admire her. She seemed very restrained and as logical and rational as possible until pushed by the reference to the KKK by Griffin which seemed completely inappropriate and possibly deliberate.I might have been tempted to walk off if I had been her at that point and she did well to stick it out in my opinion. However, I only watched for awhile because I did not like the way the show went with Griffin evading answers instead of clarifying and then that leading to a rather attacking tone when I think the chairman should have pushed for Griffins answers and rational debate in response (which would have exposed Griffin's ideas as hollow)rather than encouraging a free for all attack style which actually made the programme look more irrational than Griffin who just appeared inconsistent and confused. I think it backfired a bit personally. However I can understand that emotions were running high and it was right to allow people to ask their questions.

  • Comment number 9.

    When deciding if to open a public debate with an organisation like the BNP, it is important to have clearly in mind why ordinary moderate people might join such a group, to preclude fuelling an increase in its membership.

    I will not stoop to categorising the BNP as a political party, excluding as it does non-caucasians.

    Organisations such as the BNP provides a platform and infrastructure for racists and xenophobes, and promotes disinformation and racial hysteria to increase membership to fund its activities. Racists and xenophobes are ready targets for membership of such groups.

    But for the vast majority of the British public, BNP views are seen as ill-informed and full of hate, and therefore unsupportable.

    Nonetheless, it is clear that in recent years a minority of ordinary moderate people have joined the BNP. Some may be ignorent of Islam, and in fear of it, and are attracted by the empty promises of the BNP to solve the problems of muslim extremism. In some depressed areas, unskilled people may be attracted by the empty promises of the BNP to end unemployment by purging the UK of non-whites.

    Ignorance and desperation feed the BNP, fuelled by scaremongering and empty promises. The mainstream political parties do not offer such unsupportable instant fixes for todays social and racial tensions and economic problems.

    Putting the BNP on a high-profile stand like Question Time legitimises it. Ordinary moderate people may hear the empty promises, begin to accept the BNP’s ideas as viable, and consider joining.

    Logical and ordered debate will never alleviate irrational fears.

    I therefore believe the BBC was wrong to allow Nick Griffin air-time for to promote his organisation.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think its very worrying that Nick Griffin was given airtime on a serious political show, and cannot imagine what the bbc were thinking when they gave this man a pedestal to share his policies on governing the country, which quite frankly are not too dissimilar to Hitlers policy Bottom line being Race.
    After reading his party policy Nick Griffins party actively supports keeping the country British and that in my mind and I would think in the minds of most conjours an image of a white British originated person.
    Similarly to Griffin Hitler was voted into Parliament after a grim depression and high unemployment period in Germany, And this is where Griffin may seize his chance to come in with an alternative focus.
    Britain is currently being led by a weak party who has a very uncharismatic leader, unemployment is at an all time high and people are looking for change.
    To someone sitting at home depressed and unemployed watching Griffin because of the overwhelming publicity the BBC (and the public to be fair albeit haters) have given him, his policies may well appeal.
    Just as Hitler kept his real intentions of his party policy confusing until it was too late, Griffin is doing a similar thing.
    We had a warning allowing Hitler a voice can we afford to allow Griffin any more Airtime?

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.


  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Harder to navigate, and where is the pop-out option?
    I cannot count the number of times I have used the BBC iPlayer since I first used it to watch a programme I had missed. I have been incredibly impressed by the (original) site, finding it easy to navigate, listening to/watching some programmes that I had not heard of before, and easily locating programmes that I already knew about.
    I clicked on my favourites as usual today, only to find the site is now, to my mind, much harder to navigate. Instead of finding an interesting programme among the eight or so that used to feature at the top of the site, there were 12 suggested programmes, only one of which I have ever, or will ever watch. Perhaps when I have used the new site more often, the For You section will have something I am interested in. As I do not use social networking sites, the Friends section will never be relevant to me.
    I was looking for programmes on History. I was happy to listen to a radio programme or watch a TV programme, but the joint TV and Radio tab has disappeared. Instead of clicking on Categories then History and selecting a programme from an alphabetical list, I had to click twice on Categories to get to the submenu, then on history, then on A-Z to get to the list I wanted.
    All of this I could live with. But when watching a programme on the iPlayer, I almost always watch it in pop-out, which enables me easily to do something else on my computer at the same time. This feature seems to be no longer available. It is possible to decrease the size of the window and move it to one side of the screen, but the result takes up more space on the screen than the pop-out used to, apart from it being annoying to have to do manually something that was automatic.
    I feel I have been sidelined in preference to those who like to put their lives online via facebook, twitter, etc. If a 'friend' wants to recommend a programme, could they not put this suggestion on their facebook page, or tweet it, for those who like to communicate that way? Personally, if I like a programme I will tell my friends about it in the way I normally contact them, be that email, text, phone, or in person. Why should an excellent site such as the BBC iPlayer be compromised in order to accommodate recommendations for some users that could easily be passed on by other means?

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi sue12321,
    Thanks very much for your comment. You might be interested in this blog post from David Blackall who looks after the new website offerings for BBC iPlayer. David discusses how audience feedback has informed the new version of the iPlayer and it might help to answer some of your questions.
    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 17.

    HD on BBC B Mux at Knockmore

    I understand from Ofcom that the BBC is leading the rollout of Freeview HD, and when I asked them the simple question below they referred me to the BBC. Since then, I have tried more than once to get official information from the BBC, including the Contact Us option on the website - but for a technical question such as this it's a useless maze, none of the links leading anywhere useful, many leading to others which simply lead back to the starting point - and contacting the Press Office who published the original Press Release giving rise to the questions - but not being a member of the 'Press' as such, so far I have been ignored.

    A while back the BBC released the following Press Release concerning the rollout of Freeview HD:

    In this Press Release, there is a possible inconsistency regarding HD rollout at the Knockmore transmitter (incidentally, according to the Ordnance Survey, the correct version of the name is that originally used in the Analogue days - 'Knock More' - 'Knockmore' being the name of two other places both miles away and which AFAIAA have no transmitters).

    According to the Press Release, at Knockmore Transmitter, the rollout of HD is scheduled for this October. This is unusual in being a month after DSO, which completed Stage 2 a few days ago on 22/09/2010. Usually, HD is implemented at DSO Stage 2. This led people to wonder if the seperate date was merely a slip, or intentional.

    Please can you confirm ASAP whether Knockmore is currently broadcasting Mux B as HD, and if not, the date scheduled for HD switch over, and preferably give a brief technical reason for the unusual delay?

    This is of interest to me because, although I am not 'Press' as such, I run a non-commercial site which includes some popular pages on DIY Aerial Installation:

    Thanks and regards, Charles Harrison.

  • Comment number 18.

    Hello Charles,

    thanks for your comment and I'm sorry for the late reply but its taken me a while to track down an answer to your question. I have spoken to the technical team who have given the response below.

    "The Knockmore transmitter completed DSO in September. PSB3 would have started HD transmission at stage 2 of the DSO process which I believe was the 22nd September".

    I hope that helps.
    best wishes,


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