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IN THE NEWS: After Brexit, would you want MPs anywhere near the BBC charter?

Peter Preston, the Guardian, 3rd July 2016

You didn’t need great powers of prophecy to guess that Lord Puttnam’s inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting would deliver a thumping defence of C4 (don’t sell it) and the BBC (stop mucking around with it). But long-distance inquiries often have short, sharp relevance to current events: and here we go again. What price a BBC royal charter renewal when we haven’t got a prime minister, and won’t have for months? What price the wisdom of parliament when Westminster is in mid-nervous breakdown?

Puttnam (praying Sir David Normington, the outgoing commissioner for public appointments, in aid) thinks six HMG choices on the new BBC executive board is rotten for corporation independence; he wants an independent panel appointing independent selection teams on the amended Leveson press royal charter model (though he doesn’t actually fancy royal charter status any longer). He definitively doesn’t want sticky political fingers feeling BBC collars.

Read the article in full here.

INTERVIEW: Lord Puttnam: the BBC must confront a “total” loss of trust

By Niki Seth-Smith, Open Democracy, 1st July 2016

Your inquiry launched its report on the future of public service broadcasting today (Wednesday 29th June) but it was put together in the eight months before Britain voted to leave the EU. Is it as relevant now?  

I wrote [the forward to the report] on the 22nd June, the day before the referendum, just in the wake of Jo Cox’s murder – and I wouldn’t change a word. Ironically it feels more powerful because it was written beforehand.

What we all have to recognise is that we are living through an era unique in my experience, where the absence of trust is total – it’s not marginal, it’s total. It’s gone. And the process of rebuilding trust is a very very tough process. It has to be done illustratively … so my argument would be with this government, and indeed it would be with a Labour government if it happened to be in power, is that you have to go out of your way to prove that you do not have your fingerprints in any way shape or form on the provision of public information and news. You’ve got to prove to the public you’re nowhere near it. And any steps you can do that will establish that proof are worth taking.

Read the interview in full here.