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Industry experts to advise on BBC Charter Review

July 13, 2015

A panel of experts from across a range of industries have been appointed by Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to support the BBC Charter Review process.

The advisory group will play an important role in the government’s plans to deliver a transparent, open and democratic Charter Review. Its remit will be to provide expertise, innovation and advice for the process and policy of the review of the BBC Royal Charter by providing strategic independent oversight and challenge to the Charter Review programme of work; and bringing to bear their own personal experience and expertise on the policy debates.

The group takes in representatives from a range of backgrounds, with different experiences and differing views about the BBC. The advisory group members are:

  • Dawn Airey – Senior Vice President of Yahoo’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and formerly Chairman and Chief Executive of Channel 5.

  • Dame Colette Bowe – Chairman of the Banking Standards Board, President of the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, and former Chair of Ofcom.

  • Andrew Fisher – Executive Chairman at Shazam.

  • Darren Henley OBE – CEO of Arts Council England and former Managing Director of Classic FM.

  • Ashley Highfield – CEO of Johnston Press, one of the largest local media groups in the UK, and former director at the BBC.

  • Alex Mahon – former CEO of Shine Group, global television content production company.

  • Lopa Patel MBE – digital entrepreneur and founder/CEO of and Diversity UK.

  • Stewart Purvis CBE – British broadcaster and academic, and former Editor-in-Chief and CEO of ITN.

Whittingdale said that each member of the independent advisory group brought individual skills, experience and expertise. “Together they will contribute to the oversight of the Government’s Review of the BBC Royal Charter. I look forward to working with them on this important issue,” he stated.

Members have been appointed in a voluntary capacity and on the basis of their personal experience, not as representatives of their respective organisations. They will meet up to six times a year, with additional members co-opted as and when required by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times is reporting that a forthcoming government Green Paper on the BBC will call on the Corporation to return to its public service roots and do away with highly-commercialised programmes such as The Voice.

According to an official at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Green Paper will take a ‘root and branch’ look at everything the BBC does, covering funding, governance, its news content, its creative output and how much independent production companies do.

So-called ‘Green Papers’ are intended to provide a starting point for discussion rather than table firm proposals. A government White Paper will be issued in 2016 following a period of public consultation.

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