Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK


New BBC boss defends independence

Greg Dyke will shape the future of the BBC

The BBC's Rachel Payne: Mr Dyke finally got a chance to answer his critics
The BBC's new Director General Greg Dyke insists he will defend the corporation's reputation for independence as he looks ahead to "the most exciting job" in broadcasting.

Mr Dyke's appointment has provoked a furious reaction from the Conservative Party because of his past links with Labour.

[ image: Greg Dyke has a budget of £2bn to allocate]
Greg Dyke has a budget of £2bn to allocate
They say they are worried he will not be able to maintain the BBC's reputation for impartiality and fairness.

Mr Dyke said: "This is the most exciting job I can imagine. It's an enormous privilege to be asked to do it.

"If, like me, you have spent your adult life in broadcasting, you know that the BBC sets the standards which the rest of us try to follow.

'Labour cronyism'

"It is an outstanding journalistic and programme-making organisation. It has a reputation for honesty, fairness, and most of all independence, and I am determined to safeguard and protect that."

Greg Dyke: "This is the most exciting job I can imagine."
Prior to the last General Election, Mr Dyke gave £50,000 to Labour, but has now promised to sever his links with the party.

He told a news conference he had resigned from the Labour party and would be "scrupulously fair" in his new role.

Mr Dyke said he would strive to maintain the BBC's strengths of "diversity, quality and integrity" and enable the talent that was "packed" into the corporation.

Tory concern

In an earlier statement, the BBC governors said they were certain Mr Dyke would be determined to resist outside pressures from whatever source.

But Tory leader William Hague said: "Whilst respecting the right of the Governors to reach an independent decision, in the current climate of Labour cronyism, we are concerned that the appointment of Mr Dyke, who has given recent and substantial financial support to the Labour Party, may be prejudicial to the BBC's reputation and to its obligations in this regard under its Charter."

And Tory chairman Michael Ancram told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If there's any suggestion that there's bias towards the Labour Government at any stage, people will say of course there is because that's the leaning of the Director General.

"This is something which I think is bad for the BBC."

Tough decisions

Downing Street refused to get involved in the row, insisting it played no part in the appointment and saying it was a matter for the BBC Governors.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Harvey also dismissed the row, saying: "They have seen the last two BBC chairmen appointed as well known active Conservatives.

"I would not say that either of these gentlemen have brought their politics to the job and I don't see why anyone would assume in advance that Greg Dyke would either."

Mr Dyke, a former London Weekend Television boss, now faces tough decisions on how to spend the BBC's £2bn annual budget.

He is previously known as a critic of the licence fee and a champion of popular entertainment and sports broadcasting.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

24 Jun 99†|†UK
Greg Dyke is new BBC boss

25 Jun 99†|†UK
Papers pick over Dyke's appointment

24 Jun 99†|†UK Politics
Tories defied over Dyke appointment

25 Jun 99†|†UK
Beeb-watchers demand end to red tape

24 Jun 99†|†UK
Greg Dyke: The popular touch

24 Jun 99†|†UK
Governors go for 'flair and experience'

23 Jun 99†|†The Company File
BBC's finances under scrutiny

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online