Between the Lines: Time for BBC to be reined in

The ad industry clearly feels that the BBC should be brought to book (page 3). Not just for its flagrant cross-selling of products, but also because there is a feeling that the Corporation has an unfair advantage in building its digital empire.

This week's submission from media owners is a welcome intervention in the BBC Charter debate. The idea of setting up an independent BBC Trust to oversee the Corporation is not a new one, but it's encouraging to see powerful media owners backing the suggestion. Recommendations that could curtail the BBC's digital remit and making sure its digital activities are not subsidised by the licence fee are vital ones that need to be brought to the Government's attention.

Historically, the BBC has been subject to few external controls and its bid for an inflation-busting licence-fee formula seems to have met with little government resistance. However, with its commercial rivals getting their acts together and the Opposition voicing strong views on the BBC's future, there is a small chance the Government will feel it is time to act.

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