It is critical that media organisations maintain values of public media at their core. 

By Sally-Ann Wilson, CEO, Public Media Alliance

As we witness growing threats to democracy and the parallel erosion of media freedom, it’s rare to find a fresh perspective on what is happening in newsrooms.  But the BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Fran Unsworth, who is also a PMA Board member, brought us just that in her lecture at the Prix Italia last week. Fran’s words are a reminder that although our news values must remain solid, we need to continually review and recalibrate our reactions and responses to the media world we live in and have the power to shape.

As the BBC approaches its centenary, we are aware of how many media organisations around the world share those same news values, the values of public media. Many have rightly re-shaped their organisations to fit and reflect their own national contexts, while keeping independence, good governance and accountability. In the same way too, the BBC has evolved and will continue to do so.

What is critical for all is that they retain that independence at their core. Media news in the UK this past weekend was abuzz with reports of two names linked to the roles of the next Chair of the BBC and the new head of UK media regulator Ofcom. The critical factor to note in terms of public media is that, for the BBC Chair, there is in the BBC’s Charter a clear and established multi-step process for such an appointment. A process that once it has actually begun, PMA will be watching and reporting closely.

Header image: London, UK: BBC Broadcasting House in central London. Credit: oversnap/iStock