Sunday 2 January 2022

Who regulates the regulator?


It's over five years since News-watch first rang alarm bells at the fact that of the 13 members of Ofcom's Content Board at the time 10 had close BBC links. 

Ofcom is, of course, the BBC's regulator.

That was in 2016. Now, as we start 2022, The Mail on Sunday's deputy political editor Anna Mikhailova reports that this figure now stands at 10 out of 14, as there's been another member added to the Content Board.

Anna writes that:
Nadine Dorries is planning to review Ofcom's structure following concerns over bias towards the BBC, The Mail on Sunday understands.
The Culture Secretary is expected to examine the regulator's role as part of an upcoming review into the Corporation's complaints process.
Officials have raised concerns that out of the 14 members of Ofcom's Content Board, ten are ex-BBC employees. The regulator is the ultimate authority to which complaints can be escalated.

The next two paragraphs show why it's important that something is done:

Over the past two years, only one complaint about the Corporation was investigated by Ofcom, out of 418 referred to it by the BBC.
This is a fraction of the 830,632 viewer complaints made in total to the Corporation over the same period.

Isn't that extraordinary?

The piece continues: 

A Government source said: 'Fundamentally this needs to be looked at.'

It's very much to be hoped that Nadine Dorries isn't just talking about it but going to do something about it. There's been rather too much talk.

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