The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has just lately been going through some warmth after the discharge of its documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’, with the Indian authorities calling the movie a “propaganda piece” and accusing the broadcaster of getting a “colonial mindset”.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak got here out in assist of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stated that he doesn’t agree with the documentary’s characterisation of him.
How did the BBC come into being?
Founded on October 18, 1922, the BBC was earlier a non-public company, often known as the British Broadcasting Company, wherein solely British producers have been allowed to carry shares. Initially, the corporate struggled to realize a foothold within the business. However, its fortunes rotated in the course of the 1926 basic strike. The BBC’s protection of the disaster was broadly appreciated by the British inhabitants, which gave it a lifeline.
Later the identical 12 months, a parliament committee advisable that the personal firm must be changed by a public, Crown-chartered organisation, the British Broadcasting Corporation. This made the corporate in the end answerable to Parliament however it continued to take pleasure in independence relating to its actions.
How does the BBC function?
To date, the BBC operates beneath the Royal Charter, an instrument of incorporation granted by the ruling monarch, which makes it necessary for the corporate to acquire a licence from the nation’s residence secretary. The constitution must be renewed each 10 years and the present one will run till December 31, 2027.
The constitution additionally illustrates the goals of the printed firm. It states that the BBC “should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world.”
Till 2017, the corporate was regulated by the BBC Trust, its govt board, and a government-approved regulatory authority, known as Ofcam. However, after an impartial assessment in 2016, the belief was abolished because it was discovered to be “flawed”. In the aftermath, whereas a BBC Board was set as much as govern the corporate, Ofcam was given the only real accountability of regulating it. Meanwhile, the chief board oversees the day-to-day operations.
What is the income mannequin of the BBC?
Most of the funding of the BBC comes from an annual tv charge charged to British entities with tools to obtain or report stay tv broadcasts. Apart from this, it additionally will get earnings from its business subsidiaries — BBC Studios and BBC Studioworks.
In 2022, the corporate suffered a serious setback when the British authorities introduced a freeze on the annual tv charge for the following two years, which prevented the BBC from adjusting the price in keeping with inflation. Not solely this, the federal government additionally stated that by 2027, it can abolish the charge utterly.
A report revealed in The Guardian stated, “Although the BBC will continue to receive £3.2 billion a year in licence fee income, the costs of making its programmes are increasing rapidly due to rising inflation and competition from the likes of Netflix. As a result, the corporation will have to make hundreds of millions of pounds in spending cuts in order to balance its books.”
Relationship of the BBC with the UK authorities
As talked about earlier than, the BBC has full freedom to conduct its actions with none intervention from Parliament. However, occasionally, it has been at loggerheads with the lawmakers, particularly the conservatives, over a number of points.
For years, the correct wing has accused it of getting a “liberal” and “left-wing bias”. During the tenure of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, lots of her social gathering members publicly denounced the BBC for “being biassed against her”. It additionally confronted criticism for doing an “anti-Brexit” protection of the 2016 referendum.
In 2020, when Tim Davie took over because the Director-General of the corporate, he promised to cope with the problem and requested the extra opinionated workers to both change or give up.
In a press release to the BBC workers, he stated, “If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.”
Two years later, Richard Sharp, the BBC chairman, additionally acknowledged that “the BBC does have a liberal bias”. Notably, earlier than assuming his place as the corporate’s chairman, Sharp was Sunak’s advisor.
However, it isn’t solely the conservatives who’ve criticised the broadcaster. During the 2019 basic elections, supporters of former Labour Party Chief Jeremy Corbyn accused the BBC of favouring Boris Johnson.
The Left has additionally raised considerations relating to homophobia and transphobia throughout the firm. In 2006, a University of Leeds research discovered that the BBC is “institutionally homophobic” in direction of “lesbians and gays, references to them, or related issues”. In 2020, 150 individuals, together with members of Parliament, signed a letter which stated the BBC had engaged in “institutional discrimination” and didn’t do balanced reporting about transgender points.