Ofcom consults on BBC regulation
July 21, 2021
By Colin Mann
UK broadcast watchdog Ofcom is commencing a review of its regulation of the BBC.
As the mid-point of the current BBC Charter period is neared, Ofcom is required to produce a ‘Periodic Review’ of the BBC. This will form the basis of its advice to government for its own mid-term Charter review.
In doing so, Ofcom will reflect on its regulation of the BBC over the last four years to ensure it remains as effective as possible in holding the BBC to account on behalf of viewers and listeners.
Ofcom plans to use this opportunity to build on the conclusions of its broader work on the future of public service media – Small Screen: Big Debate, which shows a specific need to update the BBC’s Operating Licence for the digital age.
The review will cover all areas of Ofcom’s duties – performance, content standards, and competition.
Ofcom will focus on ensuring its regulation:
- drives the BBC to a position of greater transparency about its plans and processes for the benefit of audiences, industry and Parliament;
- supports the BBC’s shift towards online delivery alongside traditional broadcasting; and
- allows the BBC to innovate and change to meet audience needs and expectations.
The consultation marks the beginning of this process and invites views on the scope of Ofcom’s review, and on how regulation might need to be adapted to ensure it remains fit for the future. The closing date for responses is 5pm on September 15th 2021.
In response, the BBC said: “We’re pleased Ofcom recognises the need for a more flexible regulatory system suited to the global, digital age – enabling the BBC to deliver for all audiences and the creative industries – and we will engage fully with the consultation process.”