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George Osborne wants Ofcom to regulate the BBC

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Chancellor George Osborne thinks the BBC needs a constitutional overhaul, which would include Ofcom regulation.

The BBC is currently regulated by the BBC Trust, which is operationally independent of the BBC’s internal management.

By contrast, Ofcom is a government-approved regulatory body for broadcasting and telecoms in the UK.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Osborne said: “The trust arrangement has never really worked. I’ve never understood why the BBC is so frightened of regulation by Ofcom,” as reported by The Guardian.

It’s not as if ITV is poorly regulated. Ofcom has proved itself to be a robust regulator.”

The BBC Trust was first established back in 2007, replacing the board of governors previously regulating the service.

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Osborne also suggested that the BBC’s ‘monopoly’-style news coverage would come under review when the royal charter goes up for renewal.

The BBC’s current royal charter, which acts as the constitutional basis for the BBC, was laid out in in Parliament in July 2006, and is up for renewal on December 31, 2016.

The BBC needs to be the national broadcaster without being a monopoly broadcaster,” explained Osborne. “I think one of the things the BBC has to look out for is not suffocating local news [from other outlets] and making sure they reflect the diversity of opinion in our country and don’t become too monoculture.”

“There are plenty of people on [Radio 4’s] Today programme defending every line of government spending. But when do you hear people saying, ‘This comes from my taxes and I don’t want to spend more tax’?”

Of course, the Conservatives will first need to win the election before they could exact any such reforms.

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