The BBC’s vow to tackle bias is in doubt as Whitehall’s fight escalates that the corporation’s “modernization” reforms could actually lead to “group thinking” on issues such as Brexit.
- Sources in Whitehall believe that centralizing news production could undermine the BBC’s promise to tackle bias.
- There are concerns that the broadcaster’s group may not address on issues
- Fear of being disrupted by his “updated” “center-controlled” system.
The BBCWhitehall’s sources believe the company’s promise to combat bias could be undermined by its decision to increasingly centralize its news production.
There are concerns of the broadcaster group regarding issues such as Brexit will not be considered if its “updated” system is “controlled from the center”.
It comes despite the fact that BBC bosses are promising a “revolution of impartiality” to suppress bias. Last October, Secretary of Culture Nadine Dorries said the corporation will have to disclose how it will “change” before it can get a new royalty settlement.
Later that month, he released details of the “action plan” to ensure its content was “fair, accurate and impartial”.
Sources in Whitehall believe the BBC’s promise to tackle bias could be undermined by its decision to increasingly centralize its news production.
CEO Tim Davie also argued that the corporation’s commitment to impartiality was his top priority when he took office in 2020. Some, however, are worried that the BBC’s ‘Modernizing News’ plans will undermine those promises.
His suggestions include creating a “multi-skilled storyteller” group that will prepare stories for various BBC programs. While more news departments and shows are moving out of London, journalists will be housed in these core teams instead of being tied to specific programs.
But a recent review led by BBC board member Sir Nicholas Serota stressed that the move would “involve a higher level of centralized news production” as individual editors would have limited power to change certain parts of their stories. There are concerns that this will make it even more difficult to address issues of impartiality with the broadcaster.
An insider from Whitehall said the review “states the way in which nothing the BBC says they will do in terms of reducing bias or increasing levels of impartiality will work”, adding: “No matter who they move to. , “story groups” will ensure that news outlets are controlled from the center in exactly the same way. ‘
A recent review led by BBC board member Sir Nicholas Serota (pictured) pointed out that the BBC’s plans to create “more skilled story groups” “would include a higher level of centralized news production” as they would have individual editors have limited power to change certain parts of their stories
Sir Nicholas’ report also warned that this move could increase “potential mistakes” as the stories will be “reused in more programs”. She argued that there was a risk that the “plurality” would decrease because fewer stories would be covered.
It comes when the BBC revealed yesterday that it had appointed an interim director for news and current affairs amid reports that ITN could play “hard” on the release of the newly appointed Deborah Turness prematurely from her 12-month notice period.
Jonathan Munro – the deputy news director who was involved in Martin Bashir’s 2016 re-employment despite an interview with Diana – will oversee the department until Miss Turness arrives. Current director Fran Unsworth will leave at the end of the month.
A BBC spokesman said: “Impartiality is a key priority for the BBC. Our restructuring of newsrooms is designed to reduce duplication and provide better service to audiences, as well as relocating more jobs from London and saving financial savings.
“The Serota review identifies the need for careful monitoring of the changes we are implementing, and we have accepted its findings in our plan.”