Need for public service broadcasting has never been stronger

BBC: Dyson Report
24th May 2021

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
I welcome, in general, the tone that the Minister has adopted today in response to this. He said in his statement that

the need for public service broadcasting and trusted journalism has never been stronger.

He is absolutely right about that. That was also the conclusion of our Select Committee, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, when we recently reported on the future of public service broadcasting. This is an example of an era of journalism that was infected with a poisonous culture which unfortunately, in this case, spread to the BBC, which should have been displaying different kinds of values in its journalism. I just want to read a short quote from the National Union of Journalists parliamentary group, which said in its statement:

It’s important for us to also reiterate that the BBC is not its management, past or present. The BBC and the values and principles of public service broadcasting it personifies is in fact our members, and all its staff, who do the work that makes the corporation an entity that is valued at home and throughout the world.

Does the Minister agree with that statement?

John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

I do agree with that statement. There is no question but that the challenge posed by fake news and disinformation, which are circulating at a level we have never previously seen, makes it all the more important that there are trustworthy, reliable places where one can go without questioning the validity of what is being reported, and the BBC represents that above all else. I read with great interest the Select Committee report that the hon. Gentleman referred to, and in large part the Government completely agree with it, certainly, the importance of public service broadcasting —that has never been less, as was powerfully set out by His Royal Highness Prince William in his comments about this episode.