Hard work pays off as BBC charter renewed

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Indy Politics
DETERMINED work by the BBC and its director general John Birt will have its reward today when the Government backs the renewal of the corporation's charter for another 10 years, writes Maggie Brown.

The BBC has worked since the late 1980s towards the goal of retaining its right to an index-linked licence fee and its historic role as a public service broadcaster, while holding on to its spread of national and local radio channels.

When the Department of National Heritage published its BBC Green Paper stating its belief in the licence fee, the BBC was ready to outline its vision on how it would continue to spend the pounds 1.5bn income, with convincing clarity, in the 1992 Extending Choice document.

The Government's key aim in today's White Paper is to endorse the corporation as a renowned global media operation at a critical time: the BBC's size, which once counted against it, is now welcomed, because it allows the BBC to compete effectively against rival media players such as Rupert Murdoch.

Earlier this year the BBC outlined its commercial plans to expand globally by linking with the British- based Pearson publishing company, launching jointly a series of satellite channels.

Marjorie Mowlam, page 16

Wide-screen vision, page 25