Michael Lyons: Those who attack the BBC out of private interest will be doubted

Share
Related Topics

I do believe that the BBC Trust model has much to be said for it. But in the end, it's not my job to defend the model but to make it work effectively on behalf of the public. If others wish to debate the pros and cons of different structures, then so be it.

But I would just raise some cautionary thoughts. The BBC has always had its critics. I doubt if there has been a single moment in its long existence when there has not been a lengthy queue of experts pressing for change to this or that aspect of its activities and structure.

And this is how it should be. The degree of public scrutiny the BBC attracts is a confirmation of the centrality of the BBC to the social, economic and cultural life of Britain. But there are two kinds of critics of the BBC and of its governance arrangements.

There are those who have the best interests of the public at heart and who genuinely want to see change to ensure the BBC serves the public better. And there are those who put private interests first – and who see the BBC as an obstacle to the furtherance of those private interests, whether they be commercial, or political, and who seek to further those interests by weakening the BBC.

I think the public very well understands the difference between the two kinds of critics.

I repeat that the current Charter runs until 2016 for a very good reason – it underpins the BBC's independence. But when the time comes for a debate over the governance arrangements for the BBC, then there are two tests the public will want to apply to any fresh proposals.

The first is: do they secure a strong challenge to BBC management on behalf of the public interest? And the second is: do they also protect the independence of the BBC from undue commercial or political influence? In applying these tests, the public will want to scrutinise not just the proposals themselves but also the motives that lie beneath them.

And the public will rightly be suspicious about those seeking commercial advantage and those pressing for stronger political control – however it is disguised.



Taken from a speech given by the Chairman of the BBC Trust – 'Reshaping the BBC' – to the Manchester Statistical Society last night

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The possibility of Corbyn winning has excited some Conservatives  

Labour leadership: The choice at the heart of the leadership campaign

Jeremy Corbyn
Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos  

Greece debt crisis: Trouble is, if you help the Greeks, everyone will want the same favours

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy