UK Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson Conservative administration is reported to have offered two of the top jobs in media to outspoken critics of the BBC, and known supporters of the government’s Brexit stance.
The Sunday Times says that Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, is Johnson’s choice to become chairman of broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, while Lord Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph has been asked by the Prime Minister to take up the post of BBC chairman.
The Labour opposition has accused the government of “interfering in an open process and appointment”, with Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, suggesting that the whole idea of announcing appointments before a process has actually taken place is “a bit strange” and that the public will be wondering where the government’s priorities are on the matter. “Why are they worrying and interfering in an open process and appointment for BBC and head of Ofcom, both two very senior independent public service posts that carry significant salaries? Why are the government interfering in that sort of thing, when they should be concentrating on getting a grip on test and trace, keeping coronavirus rates under control and getting the economy back on track?”
The appointment of BBC chairman is supposed to be an open process, with Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport understood to be rushing to finalise plans to publish the job description for the role and invite applications this week. A similar public applications process for the Ofcom chairmanship is expected to open next month.