Thursday, April 24, 2008

A BBC 'debate' on the future role of public service broadcasting (PSB) has begun with the launch of a special website. This debate follows publication of Phase One of Ofcom’s second review of public service broadcasting on 10 April 2008. It is described by the BBC as "a wide-ranging debate with the public and the creative communities to garner views on public service broadcasting."

Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry and Will Hutton have been invited by the BBC to present their views in lectures which will be broadcast and available online later. Additionally, according to the BBC, there will be in-depth research with the UK's creative community and the wider audience on their attitudes to public service broadcasting.

Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, said: "I am pleased that the Ofcom report reaffirms the audiences' view that the BBC is the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in Britain. As part of our engagement with the review, I want to focus on what our audiences want from us in the future. .... I'm looking forward to hearing from the public and the creative industries what they want from the BBC as we move to a digital society."

Newsround blog intends to contribute fully to the debate. Unfortunately, at the moment, Mark Thompson is refusing to converse on the matters which I have put to him. I did however receive an email three weeks ago from a BBC Divisional Advisor attempting to explain why the main BBC children's television channels have become more narrowly age focussed. I had previously understood, from an email posted to a now defunct Grange Hill message board, that the decision was "based on extensive audience research." However it now seems that the decision was not in fact based on audience research, but rather "seemed sensible and obvious." I was also informed that "the launch of BBC switch has proven a great success," but so far my request for more details about this success has been met with silence, despite two reminders.

More soon.

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