As part of an Ofcom consultation, Public Media Alliance recommends tracking the international coverage of the UK public broadcaster.

The Public Media Alliance provides support and advocacy for public media worldwide. As part of our remit, we are often invited to make submissions to governments and regulators regarding the key principles of public media.

In April 2017, a new Royal charter and Agreement in the UK introduced significant changes to the way the BBC will be run and regulated. The public broadcaster’s regulation has passed from the BBC Trust to independent regulator Ofcom. One of Ofcom’s central responsibilities is to hold the BBC to account for fulfilling its mission and promoting its public purposes.

As part of this aim, Ofcom have set an operating licence for the UK public broadcaster and have been engaged in a public consultation regarding the measures required to assess the BBC’s performance.

“The licence must set out the enforceable regulatory conditions that we consider appropriate to ensure the BBC fulfills its duties,” states Ofcom.

The process is transparent and the PMA was asked to participate and send a submission.

The PMA believes international factual content is essential for citizens of every country to gain insight into their place in the wider world. Our submission included observations from recent research with our global members.

“The PMA’s current research project, due for publication later this year, leverages our global network of public media leaders to investigate the role that public broadcasters play in democratic society. All respondents were acutely aware of the increasing impact of globalisation on citizens and therefore the need to provide an international context to audiences.  International factual coverage is increasingly recognised worldwide as an essential element for any public media organisation”.

As a result, we proposed that Ofcom measures the volume of new non-news international factual content broadcast by the BBC on an annual basis to ensure it gets the space it deserves.

Read more about the consultation and read individual responses.

Header image: BBC Office, Portland Place, London. Credits: Matt Brown/Creative Commons