Monday, 6 Dec 2021

Former BBC head warns broadcaster must ‘work on impartiality’ as whole UK not represented

BBC needs to work on impartiality says former head of news

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Former BBC TV News chief Roger Mosey insisted the broadcaster “does need to work on impartiality” and on expanding reporting to wider areas across the UK. Mr Mosey made his feelings known to LBC presenter Iain Dale, calling out the broadcaster for its bias and tendency to cover only a specific range of cities across the UK and neglecting other parts of the country. The BBC has come under scrutiny in recent years over the decision to backtrack on a scheme scrapping free TV licence fees for the over-75s and for its programming strategy.

Mr Mosey conceded the BBC is “not perfect” and needs reform but remains a source for integral and trustworthy reporting.

He deems the BBC indispensable in terms of news providers in this country but is desperate for a new, more unbiased approach.

He said: “We need the BBC as a guarantor of public broadcasting in the UK.

“There are plenty of other sources and voices. But the BBC is a really important one.

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“The BBC is the place where we all pay for it and we need it to reflect the whole of the country. Is the BBC perfect? Certainly not, the BBC does need to reform and change but I am pretty comfortable they will be able to do that.

“I think it does need to work on impartiality. It’s very interesting that Tim Davie, as the new Director-General, said the single most important thing at the top of this was impartiality.

Although audiences don’t question the BBC’s honesty, accuracy, and reliability the partiality of its reporting in domains such as regional news, business, and science have been questioned.

Mr Mosey continued: “The BBC hasn’t been representing the whole country enough.

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“It didn’t call the 2019 general election very well. And think if the BBC had been based in Sunderland or Leeds, it would have had more of a sense of what was going on in the country.

“At least make sure that, if they expect everyone to pay for it, it’s gotta be something which appears to listen to the voices of people and speak their voices back to them. It can’t be like the Guardian, the New York Times, The Telegraph or Mail.”

“It has to be something universal and it hasn’t in the past been quite as good as it should have been.”

The BBC failed to meet a number of diversity targets in its attempts to increase the diversity of its workplace and it’s understood that it employs men than women and not enough black, Asian, and minority ethnic staff in leadership positions.

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He concluded: “The BBC needs to be more diverse. Diversity is everything, its ethnicity, its gender, its social-economic background, its geography. 

“I agree that the BBC can be much broader in terms of representing the UK. I don’t think it runs a party political agenda, I don’t think it’s pro-labor or pro-Conservative. But it can be more liberal in its outlook.”

 Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries this week said “hard discussions” are needed about the future of the BBC.

Her in-tray includes crucial decisions about the future of the broadcaster, including setting the licence fee levee until 2027.

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