BBC faces ‘perception challenges’, says Labor MP as party launches review panel

He noted that the BBC “faces a number of hurdles” including renewing its charter and “ongoing questions about future funding”, adding that “its independence and impartiality are constantly being called into question”.

Asked if the BBC is independent of the government, he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “I think there are… there have been serious problems lately.

“Obviously, there are a number of issues around the process of appointing the president, which is now under investigation because I asked for that investigation, because clearly the relationship between the president who was appointed and the then prime minister was much closer. and it involved many more financial issues that we were not aware of at the time.

“The appointment of other members of the BBC board of directors, but also… what we have seen from this particular government is keeping the BBC in line by constantly threatening its future.

“So around this time last year, the then culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, said that the license fee payment would be the last license fee as we know it and that in the future there would be some other way to finance the license fee. BBC, however, I have not said anything about it.

The embattled BBC chairman Richard Sharp is facing pressure to resign amid an ongoing review after it emerged he helped former Prime Minister Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan.

Labor Party Conference 2022
Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell has announced Labor is launching an independent review into the BBC’s ‘future direction’ (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ms Powell, MP for Manchester Central, said she wants the new panel to “really do some deep political work for Labor on these issues.”

“Well, I think there are some perception challenges at least in that regard and the reason why I’ve launched this independent review panel today, with some very prominent people from the industry working with me who are going to make recommendations and advise. The work in the future direction is because the BBC is facing a number of headwinds,” he said.

“But we are confident that as a Labor Party we support a universally funded public service broadcaster in this country; we think that’s absolutely critical.

“But there are a number of headwinds that it faces. The renewal of the charter is approaching, there are constant questions about future financing.

“This government has basically put the BBC under threat in terms of its future funding.

“Their independence and impartiality are constantly being questioned and are at the center of the culture wars, and of course, in the streaming age, the platform age, the social media age that we live in now, there are huge challenges. for the BBC and that’s why I want this panel at this stage to really do some deep political work for Labor on these issues, so that we can secure the future of the BBC, not just to survive, but to thrive for the next generation. ”.

Asked if Labor would name anyone with political ties, Ms Powell told BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “That’s something we’ll see, but I think it would narrow the field significantly.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC plays an important role in national life and we look forward to participating in the review.”


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