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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 18:49 GMT
Broadcasting bill under spotlight
Digital technology is transforming broadcasting
Digital technology is transforming broadcasting
Commercial TV companies are urging the government to bring the BBC within the remit of a single broadcasting watchdog.

Under plans revealed last December, the government is proposing to regulate the UK's broadcast and telecommunications industries under a single body called Ofcom.

A Communications White Paper has been drawn up to meet the demands of rapidly changing media technology.


I think plurality in regulation is as important as plurality amongst broadcasters

BBC director general Greg Dyke
One crucial issue is whether the BBC governors, who currently act as a watchdog body for the corporation's activities, should come under the new regulator.

The Culture Secretary Chris Smith has said the BBC governors will continue to act in their current role, but consumers will be able to put their complaints to Ofcom if they feel the BBC has not done enough.

Channel 4 executives told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Thursday that "it would not damage the BBC if there were clear definitions across all public service broadcasters".

And ITV's network chairman Leslie Hill said a single regulator should be looking at the "broadcasting ecology" across all channels.

"It is the BBC which should have the most of the public service broadcasting requirements," he said.

"The BBC will not come under the auspices of Ofcom in the same way that commercial public service broadcasters will," he added.

But BBC director general Greg Dyke said of the White Paper: "I was anxious that we didn't get a single content regulator across the whole of British television.

"I think plurality in regulation is as important as plurality amongst broadcasters."

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