I beleive in the BBC

OK, first off it seems that I once again find myself in the position of having to apologise for the infrequent updates. Sorry about that.

Secondly, I’ve thus far resisted the temptation to post the above button on this site; partly because it wasn’t something I really saw as within the site’s scope, and partly because the fact that I believe in the BBC more than most other media organisations doesn’t really warrant the phrase I believe in the BBC standing on it’s own. However, it seems that the government have hired yet another blairite Murdoch crony with no clue about new media to try and tear the corporation down. This time I have to say something.

The Graf Report was commissioned by Tessa Jowell in August of 2003, just over a month after the death of David Kelly, and a matter of weeks after the opening of the Hutton Inquiry. The author, Philip Graf, was Chief Executive of Trinity Mirror until 2002. BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas reports that Graf’s report pleases almost all, and then goes on to cite Hugo Drayton and the British Internet Publishers Alliance. The BIPA is an alliance of some of the largest old media conglomerates who’s sole objective for the last six years has been to attack the BBC’s online dominance, with little regard for the clear fact that the BBC leads because of the superiority of it’s content. Hugo Drayton, for example, is from the Telegraph Group. Other BIPA members include Capital Radio, EMAP, Guardian Unlimited, Independent Digital, News International and Trinity Mirror. Unsurprisingly, where they’ve even bothered to cover it, Graf’s report has received a resounding welcome from the whole of the mainstream British press—and the greatest praise comes from a political lobby group who for three years worked on Graf’s behalf!

The Independent reports that the BBC web site is now used by a quarter of the adult population of the UK, and also that Simon Waldman, director of Guardian Unlimited, had been hoping for a rather more drastic response from the BBC. There is no specification of exactly what he would have liked, but unsurprisingly (again) there are hints that a dramatic slashing of the Beeb’s online presence and a fair number of redundancies would have been considered a good place to start. Guardian Unlimited is the ninth most popular web site in the UK. bbc.co.uk, I think, is the first.

Does Graf’s report please almost all? It seems to me that, like Hutton before it, Graf pleases everyone bar the licence fee payer. We know that the vast majority of web traffic is over web sites owned by only a handful of companies, and don’t get me wrong, that’s something I’d like to see change. Once upon a time there was a dream that web would bring true freedom of speech, unhindered by the bias of trans-national corporations. Make today a day for independent web sites.

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