My Views

Decamber 30th, 2022
Written by John Grogan

In this period between Christmas and the New Year many of us enjoy watching the TV or streaming services. Unlike the United States, the UK is fortunate to have a long tradition of public service broadcasting which refers to broadcasting intended for public benefit rather than to serve purely commercial interests. This includes not just the output of BBC and Channel 4 but also programmes produced by ITV like the regional news programme Calendar. 

It’s time for a new media law making sure that the output of the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5 is always carried on all platforms and easy to find at the top of the TV Guide. As more and more people access content online this means not just on Freeview and Freesat but also on connected devices and major online platforms, including on Smart TVs. 
The Government has promised a new law for some years but keeps putting it off whilst it considers whether to privatise Channel 4. It is time that they made a clear statement that it will remain publicly owned with a base in Leeds.
Back in 2003 whilst the MP for Selby I sat on a Joint Committee of the House of Commons and Lords chaired by film director Lord David Putnam scrutinising the Communications Bill. This was the last piece of legislation dealing with the regulation of television and broadband. Befire Christmas I was at a Conference in London organised by the Voice of the Listener and Viewer which called for a new media law to update the legislation twenty years on. 
Our democracy cannot afford to simply rely on the output of American streaming services even though some of it is of high quality. They will never focus on making distinctive content on tv and online which reflect British culture, supports domestic film and TV production, and provides impartial and accurate news. For that we need our public service broadcasters and we should cherish not just their heritage but also their creativity and capacity to innovate more services like the BBC IPlayer. One recommendation from me on this is set in Bradford: