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

Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK


TV watchdog fills top job

Broadcasting is on the verge of massive change

The new chairman of Britain's TV taste and decency watchdog has been named as Lord Holme of Cheltenham.

The move sees the 63-year-old peer switching to the Broadcasting Standards Commission from another TV watchdog - the Independent Television Commission - where he was deputy chairman.

[ image: Lord Holme: Balance between freedom of expression and responsibilities]
Lord Holme: Balance between freedom of expression and responsibilities
It comes less than a fortnight after Culture Secretary Chris Smith indicated that TV regulators would be rationalised to avoid duplication.

Mr Smith plans to introduce new broadcasting regulations in the next Parliament, particularly in the light of increasing convergence between TV and the Internet.

Lord Holme takes over from Lady Howe in the £48,110 a year role, which has been vacant for six months.

Close to Blair

Mr Smith said: "Richard Holme's judgement, abilities and wide experience will be invaluable to the commission in its important, continuing role and will help it meet the challenges ahead in what is likely to be a period of rapid change for UK broadcasting.

"The time he has spent as deputy chair of the Independent Television Commission will be of great benefit to the BSC's future dealings in advising broadcasters and their regulators, improving co-ordination between the various bodies and ensuring that the public interest is represented in broadcasting as a whole."

Lord Holme, a Liberal Democrat peer, worked closely with former party leader Paddy Ashdown and was the party's election campaign chairman in 1997.

He played a key role in increasing co-operation between Labour and the Liberal Democrats and has close links to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Host of challenges

Lord Holme will serve in his new post for four years, starting work on 1 October for the equivalent of three days a week.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission is the only body which covers all television and radio - the ITC focuses on just independent stations.

Lord Holme said the commission faced a host of challenges, including digital technology and the proliferation of broadcasting channels.

He said: "In this new environment, standards could so easily be eroded. We must always balance the freedom of expression with the responsibilities which go with it.

"The Broadcasting Standards Commission must reflect the changing broadcast environment and the expectations of viewers and listeners, so that it gives a correct expression of the public interest and society's 21st century values."

Advanced options | Search tips

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

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

17 Sep 99 | UK
Digital revolution timetable

13 Aug 99 | UK
Could you be the nation's nanny?

14 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Sex on TV complaints rocket

Internet Links

Independent Television Commission

Broadcasting Standards Commission

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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