IPA slams BBC 'commercialisation' in charter submission

LONDON - The IPA has slammed the BBC for its 'increasingly aggressive approach to programming and self-promotion' in its submission on the BBC's Charter Review.

The IPA's document to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport calls for the Government to rein in the BBC so that it adheres more closely to its public-service remit to complement rather than compete with the commercial sector.

It also joins the ranks of people and organisations demanding that the BBC's board of governors be disbanded and replaced. The IPA has suggested that a board of directors, akin to those at Channel 4, should take charge of operational decisions but with Ofcom taking the role of regulator.

In contrast with the recent David Elstein report, which stated that the BBC should become subscription-based, the IPA says that it believes the licence fee to be the fairest and most appropriate means of paying for the corporation in the immediate term. The IPA also rejects calls for the BBC to be broken up or carry advertising.

Jim Marshall, the chairman of the IPA media futures group, said: "We have enormous admiration for the BBC as a force for good in the UK broadcasting ecology. This does not, however, blind us to the corporation's blatantly commercial approach over recent years -- or the urgent need to drag it kicking and screaming back to an agreed and much more limited public-service remit."

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