With a mounting array of complaints and accusations, the lifespan of this once great British broadcaster may be coming to an end
Founded by John Reith on the 18th of October 1922, the BBC is the oldest national broadcaster and one of the biggest. But with scandal, controversy and cuts, what does the future hold for the great British Broadcaster?
Over the decades the BBC has played host to one of the best loved TV shows, from soaps and satires to dramas and documentaries. The public service broadcaster caters to the needs of the viewer, and rightly so as it is the viewer who funds it. MPs however have recently criticised the lack of modernity of the TV license fee and suggested that the future of the fee is uncertain and may have to be replaced within the next 10-15 years. This along with recent cuts, places the question over the BBC’s future.
‘Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest’. According to their website, this is one of the BBC’s core values, but is this really the case? The BBC is no stranger to controversy, and it seems that many of its values have been compromised over the years: with protests against the BBC due to a lack of impartiality and more recently, according to the Independent, the repeated breech of certain Ofcom guidelines. So it seems the answer is ‘No’ when it comes to trust being the foundation of the BBC.
The BBC is often known to be an independent broadcaster and is held accountable by the Royal Charter to be objective, but over the years it has been branded as untrustworthy by a number of people. In 2014 the BBC studios were host to several protests which questioned its impartiality, this was in regards to its anti-Scottish independence stance which was also criticised by public figures such as actor, Peter Mullen.
In the same year, the BBC came under attack by protesters over its pro-Israeli stance when covering the attacks on Gaza. In 2009 the BBC refused to air an aid appeal requested by the Disaster Emergency Committee, and as a result were attacked both by the general public, with large-scale protests taking place, and by senior MPs such as Nick Clegg. The former cabinet minister, Tony Benn took matters into his own hands and heavily condemned the actions of the BBC, reading out the appeal address during an interview. Trust in the BBC as an institution is also declining with incidents such as the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal tarring the reputation of this once famous broadcaster.
Media bias is an issue which impacts the whole world, with countries such as North Korea and Saudi Arabia using the media as a tool to rally political support to enforce their laws and views. We in the west tend to pride ourselves on our freedom of speech and the press, but is this really the case? The media industry is an oligopoly which means that a handful of powerful individuals, such as Murdoch, are in charge of what we see and hear and with it being one of the most powerful sources of information, how free are we to make our own decisions?
I, am in no way undermining the public. Through the internet and other advances in technology, we are now able to seek knowledge beyond tabloid newspapers, accessing smaller and more independent sources of information, such as this site, as well as many online news channels such as VICE News.
Even with a history of controversies, and the recent revelations of its breach in Ofcom guidelines, it seems the BBC still remains one of the most respected networks in the world and the closest to a truly impartial broadcaster. Though the long-term future of the BBC as a public service network remains uncertain, it’s safe to say it is not yet the end for the world’s oldest broadcaster.