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Memo Leads to Flap Over BBC’s Future

Memo Leads to Flap Over BBC's Future

Media watchers and politicians in the United Kingdom are debating the future of the BBC.
An internal memo published in the Sunday Times suggests that the government has considered breaking up the BBC into entities for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The government reportedly also is considering a wider role for a broadcasting watchdog office, bringing the BBC under its jurisdiction. Currently, BBC governors ensure its impartiality and accuracy. The BBC’s 10-year charter is up for renewal in 2006.
According to, the government now has come under pressure to rule out any plans to end the BBC’s 80-year-old existence as a UK-wide institution. Several government officials disclaimed the memo and said the government wants the BBC to remain independent.
“If executed, such a scheme could mean the emasculation of the BBC, ending UK-wide news bulletins and, therefore, threatening its strongly-guarded reputation for editorial independence,” the Scotsman reported.
The BBC has been harshly criticized for a report by a former correspondent alleging that the government had doctored intelligence reports to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.