BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies' move to reform the BBC board of governors was this week roundly criticised by MPs, commercial broadcasters and consumer bodies who reiterated calls for the corporation to face the same regulation as other broadcasters, writes Da
Davies announced new guidelines for the governors last week in an attempt to make them more independent from the BBC executive (Broadcast, 1.3.02).Former media secretary Chris Smith led the charge against the proposals, speaking as the paving bill to establish the regulator Ofcom completed its passage through the Commons. He told Broadcast he 'very much welcomed the steps taken ... to increase the independence of the board of governors', but his view that backstop powers should be transferred to Ofcom was unchanged.Smith was backed by SMG, which owns Scottish Television and Grampian Television, and by the National Consumer Council - both of which sent representatives to the culture select committee hearings this week. An SMG spokesperson said: 'It does not make sense to create a single regulator without giving it comprehensive oversight of the industry.'Select committee chairman Gerald Kaufman said: 'It appears to be a strange way of proceeding for the board of governors to be told by their chairman, who is in many ways an executive chairman, how to run the accountability of the BBC.' A final decision on the BBC and Ofcom will be announced on publication of the draft communications bill next month.- Independent Television Commission chief executive Patricia Hodgson has rapped the BBC for entering a ratings battle with ITV at the expense of quality. Giving the Royal Television Society's annual Fleming lecture on Tuesday, Hodgson said: 'Beating ITV with Blue Planet is a triumph; beating it with Celebrity Sleepover is a tragedy.'