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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 12:42 GMT
Dyke not 'dumbing down' BBC
The BBC's political coverage includes Question Time
The BBC's political coverage includes Question Time
BBC director general Greg Dyke has hit out at claims that the corporation is "dumbing down" its political coverage.

Last week, in a joint letter, Labour Party chairman Charles Clarke and Tory chairman David Davis expressed their concern that the BBC was about to scrap some of its flagship political shows.

It is our job to try to engage people in politics and the issues of the day

Greg Dyke

BBC chairman Gavyn Davies wrote back pledging that there would be no dumbing down of its political coverage.

Mr Dyke told BBC One's Breakfast with Frost programme that a review was underway to halt falling viewing figures for political programming.

'Engage'

He said: "There is a difficulty in that fewer people are watching political programmes, and I think that is reflected in the numbers of people voting in the election.

"It is not our job at the BBC to try to get people to vote but I think it is our job to try to engage people in politics and the issues of the day.

"That is a particular problem once you get below the age of 50."

Mr Dyke added that opening up politics to younger generations should be welcomed.

"The reaction of some of the politicians in the two main parties is to say you are dumbing down. Actually we are doing the opposite," he added.

Greg Dyke is keen to appeal to younger voters
Greg Dyke is keen to appeal to younger voters
Concern among politicians was also evident last week, when Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the BBC had a duty to be "imaginative" in attracting viewers back to politics.

A report by the Independent Television Commission showed that 70% of the public had little or no interest in the television coverage during the 2001 general election - compared with 56% in 1997.

Mr Dyke has said programmes have concentrated too much on inward-looking Westminster matters.

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BBC Director General Greg Dyke
"We're looking at saying how do we engage more people in political programming"
See also:

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Dyke: BBC is 'hideously white'
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