Call for debate over BBC future

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Published: Tuesday 3rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The head of the BBC Trust will call for “a proper public debate” about the future of the corporation during a speech to industry insiders tonight.

The BBC faces a review of its charter, setting out its aims and how it is run, next year with the new version taking effect in 2017.

Rona Fairhead will tell the Royal Television Society: “T his will be a very real debate about the future, size and shape of the BBC.

“I took this job because I believe the Trust needs to be at the heart of that debate. And I believe it needs to be a proper public debate, not one conducted by a small elite… I believe the debate must include the voices of all the people out there who pay for the BBC, who love its programmes, who are its true owners.”

Among the issues likely to be raised in the run-up to charter review is the future of the licence fee which has been heavily criticised by some politicians.

A Government review into how payment of the licence fee is enforced will report by the end of June.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has previously said a possible sale of the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, could also be part of the charter review process.

Ms Fairhead, who replaced former cabinet minister Lord Patten in the role last year, has previously given evidence to a parliamentary committee but this is her first big set-piece speech since taking on the role.

She is also expected to say “there is a lot” for the BBC “to be confident about”.

She will tell the audience at the British Museum in central London: ” But all the noise around the BBC can be a distraction. I see it as my job to push the BBC to be confident and connected with its audience in everything that it does.”

Published: Tuesday 3rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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