BBC among criticisms, funding, and a Worldwide Service

Jean Seaton, Professor of Media History at the University of Westminster and Official Historian of the BBC, was the guest of the 6 November Harrow Conversation.

Defend the BBC – It’s the Best We’ve Got was the title of the lunchtime meeting.
The issues discussed focused especially on the recent debate about the future of the British Broadcasting Company, its funding and the way it reaches its audience.

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
To enrich people’s lives with programmes andservices that inform, educate, and entertain” is the mission proclaimed by the news service on its website.
Inform, Educate, Entertain are, in fact, the three most important active verbs that every journalist must bear in his mind, and repeat perform whenever pick up a pen or turn on the camera.
And this is essential either for a BBC reporter or a correspondent of any other news organization.

BBC has been an interpreter of the national interest”, said Jean Seaton.

The conversation started with general consideration about the common opinion regarding the Corporation.
“People are very rude about BBC”, the professor stated.
Everyone can easily understand this behaviour. The citizens are often more critical about their own institutions than foreign ones.

As the debate went on, professor Seaton affirmed that in all the places she had been, the BBC really looks like as representing the British values.
The Company has got broadcasting stations in many countries – as in the Middle East or in the United States. But the BBC World Service is recognizable as it deals with the national news, while admitting its British point of view.

Since April 2014, BBC World Service has been integrated with BBC funding, that is the Licence Fee.
Before this date, the organization’s expenditure were paid by the Foreign Office, which, however, couldn’t interfere in the news agenda.
The transfer was determined by the uncertainty of the budget, which would have damaged the jobs and the variety of the service itself.

World Service broadcasts in 27 languages additionally to the English.

In terms of the problem of subscriptions for individual bites of the service, Mrs Seaton answered that diminishing its extension would determine a great loss in the quality.

In fact, the essence of the BBC is to give its audience – considered made of intelligent, curious, and ordinary people – information that they would be interested in, even if they do not yet know they might be interested in them. It is not just giving away whatsoever piece of data, but to provide the audience with the necessary and important news in their country and around the world.

Like many other organizations, even the BBC is not safe from critics and people’s bad opinion. However, if there is still such a talk and debates about the company, it means that the British Service has yet great importance.

“It is an institution that nobody would invent it now”, said Jean Seaton, praising the courage and the long-term vision of that lucky foundation in the 1922.