Commercial b’casters call for BBC charter changes

The trade body that represents the UK’s commercial broadcasters has called for governance of the BBC to be handled by a new external and independent body.

The Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) said that the Trust that currently oversees the activities of UK pubcaster the BBC, should be scrapped in its current form and replaced by a new external body.

The COBA proposals for BBC governance were outlined in the group’s response to the UK government’s consultation on the Charter that outlines the BBC’s mandate.

“COBA believes that oversight of the BBC requires greater independence, and that this is best achieved through an external body, preferably a stand-alone organisation with greater, more flexible powers than the BBC Trust,” the group said today.

It added: “Where there is a risk of a market impact, the ultimate authority must be an external body if it is to have the confidence of industry.”

COBA has also called for greater transparency on reporting of the activities of BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC and for measure to ensure that public service and commercial activities are effectively separated.

Former PACT executive Adam Minns is executive director of COBA. He said: “Undermining the BBC would seriously damage the UK’s creative sector. However, ultimate responsibility for governing one of the biggest public broadcasters in the world should belong to a separate, demonstrably independent body.”