BBC: Better Be Careful

Tuesday 21st January 2020 08:03 EST

UK's oldest and perhaps the most “unbiased and balanced” broadcasting organisation appears to be in a soup.

From the recent resignation of its director general Tony Hall to the slew of equal pay claims following Samira Ahmed's victory, the corporation appears to have run into a myriad of controversies. Ahmed is believed to be following in the footsteps of BBC's China correspondent Carrie Gracie who resigned from the organisation in 2018 on the grounds of gender pay discrimination.

Equal pay is just the tip of the iceberg of the institution's internal management. Newsrooms have often held “off-the-record” discussions about institutional racism that dominates their workspace behind the camera. Yet, on the face of it, the institution appears to have ticked the right number of BAME boxes with reporters like Amol Rajan, Naga Munchetty, and Asad Ahmed being its diversity brand ambassadors. Recently, they have even appointed Dharshini David as their first ever global trade correspondent.

Hall now leaves behind him a legacy of disputes with Tory politicians around the institutions' election reportage, some journalists' bias in reporting of issues such as racism, islamophobia and anti-semitism.

However, the broadcasting service perhaps faces the biggest challenge of sustaining and surviving in an era of media-streaming devices such as Netflix and Amazon. Especially at a time when Tory MPs have repeatedly emphasised on an overhaul of its funding model and scrapping its license fee. Damian Collins, who chaired the Commons media committee until the election, did not agree with scrapping the licence fee but suggested the BBC needed to review the way it raises its money.

Potential candidates to take over from Hall include Sharon White, the former chief executive of media regulator Ofcom; Gail Rebuck, the chair of Penguin Random House; and the Channel 4 chief executive, Alex Mahon. Hall's successor will be selected by the BBC Board rather than the government.

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