Corbyn’s media reform policies can restore the BBC to its former glory

The UK media is the least trusted in Europe. That’s a fact, and whilst it may not be a direct measurement of the quality of our press it is an indicator of what the mainstream media has become. A corporate media controlled in the majority by 5 rich businessmen and the BBC.

Neither of those groups has been kind, or in fact fair, to Jeremy Corbyn.

This may not sound awful, you might think Corbyn deserves a rough trot, but in my view, the media outlets, especially the BBC, should not be political weapons but public services designed to inform not influence. This is a view shared by Corbyn and in his attempt .

Whilst Corbyn’s proposals on small media outlet funding will be welcomed by journalists all across the country, and his proposals on making the giant monopolies of the digital age like Facebook help fund journalism are fantastic the proposed changes to the BBC will make all the headlines. The corporation that was once produced gold standard journalism but now is put in a pile of media outlets designed to support the establishment.

The BBC’s move right began in Cameron’s term of office and was engineered using one of the features of the BBC that Corbyn wishes to end, it’s charter renewal.

Corbyn proposes to place the BBC on a permanent statutory footing to end government control through charter renewal, this was the charter renewal that was used by David Cameron to move the BBC right. The Tories before the 2015 General Election threatened to end the license fee if the BBC’s news coverage didn’t play ball. This isn’t a crackpot theory of a socialist, this is a well-documented fact. Nick Robinson is just one of the many BBC staff who spoke of comments made by Tory politicians threatening the BBC.

Despite this I have never joined the boycotts of the BBC, nor called for its abolition. There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly I would rather have a media with a fully functioning fair BBC, than without it. A media company that does not need to worry about corporate demands will always have an advantage over outlets that have shareholders to satisfy. Secondly, if the BBC were to die another outlet would take up that demand, and that outlet would most likely be corporate run and centre right.

Therefore to fix the BBC is the desired outcome for those who like to see the British Press returned to actually reporting the news. The only way to do that is to change who sits on its unitary board, the people who run the BBC. Corbyn proposes the election of some of the BBC board members by staff and licence fee payers.

That would see some elections of places to the BBC Board, for example of executive directors by staff and non-executive directors by licence fee payers.

This would function almost like a federal co-operative, giving both readers and journalists, not the government, control of our news. This mixture of stakeholders would allow the BBC to remain professional and balanced. I would resist a board elected completely by license fee payers due to a positive feedback effect that it would most likely create.

This is the solution to the BBC, and the combination of these proposals would allow no party to influence the BBC’s editorial stance and keep it independent, as it should be.

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Iwan Doherty

Editor in Chief and Founder of The People’s News. Democratic Socialist

Iwan Doherty has 45 posts and counting. See all posts by Iwan Doherty

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