London, May 20 (EFE). – More than 120 influential voices from the world of culture, journalism and academia in the United Kingdom warned in an open letter released Thursday that the role of the BBC’s public service is under “grave danger” due to cuts and future plans for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.
Writers Salman Rushdie and Hillary Mantell, historian Timothy Garton Ash and journalist Alan Rusbridger, among others, urge the letter to defend the channel’s function as a bulwark of “quality, diversity, innovation, respectful debate and trust” and is informative.
“Public service principles that have served us well are in grave danger. Not only because of unregulated broadcast platforms and click-oriented content from major tech companies, but also because of the government.” Released by the British Broadcasting Challenge pressure group, the letter warns.
Thinkers and journalists assert that “the BBC’s budget has been reduced by 30% in the past ten years” and “faces further cuts in the following budgets.”
They also criticize that the government has set up a group of experts to advise it on the future of the public channel that “meets in secret,” without making its agenda, deliberations, or recommendations public.
Since coming to power in 2019, Johnson has suggested that he consider stopping fining people who do not pay the mandatory annual fees that fund the public channel (£ 157.50 or € 182), although this step has not been taken. So far.
In November, Minister of Culture, Information and Sports, Oliver Dowden, published a column in The Telegraph newspaper calling for “deep reflection” on the role of public television in the “digital age” and urging the question “if we need it.”
That same month, he created the panel of experts that would guide the future of the BBC, led by Governor Lord Michael Grad, who chaired the network from 2004 to 2006.
Since then, Grad has called for the equity standards that UK TV news channels must abide by.
“I don’t understand why the Daily Mail should not have its own opinion channel, the Financial Times, the Mirror, or the Sun, anyone with a point of view,” Grad said. At a conference, as reported by “The Guardian” newspaper.
The debate comes when the launch of two new UK news channels that aspire to occupy the conservative news space in a style similar to that of US Fox News (GB News and UK News) are completed. EFE
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