Citizens’ Forum for Broadcasting

VLV is calling on organisations from across the UK to get involved in the debate about public service broadcasting (PSB).


We are looking for organisations who believe that their users should be represented in the debate about how public service broadcasting should develop in the future and would like help to make their voices heard.


Why?

  • Public service broadcasting is essential for a well-functioning, well-informed society.
  • It is fundamental to our country, culture and democracy.
  • It informs our national conversation and our national levels of information, education and wellbeing.
  • It is a powerful medium that can influence public opinion on a whole range of issues. It can motivate us to take action to improve our lives and the world around us.
  • It is not dictated by commercial interests.
  • It is universally available to everyone at the point of access.
  • News is a key ingredient of PSB and the BBC, our biggest brand news provider, is the envy of the world.

What’s happening

In the last 6 months the Government has proposed changes to the licence fee which will affect the level of service that the BBC is able to offer, as well as a plan to sell off Channel 4.


This means that lots of content that the PSBs currently provide simply won’t be available. 


It could reduce access to up to date accurate news and the number of programmes made for diverse audiences across the UK.


Most content provided by the PSBs is unlikely to be provided by commercial media outlets because it is seen as too niche or it doesn’t make enough profit.


Who might be interested?

Organisations whose work involves safeguarding or supporting peoples’ health and mental wellbeing

Public Service broadcasters stepped up to the plate during the pandemic and continue to provide a plethora of content targeted at different ages including exercise classes for older people, advice on food as well as religious services and programmes about ethics, for example.


Organisations which focus on various aspects of healthcare

Public Service Broadcast programmes are often trailblazers with information about health conditions or which debunks misinformation about health – for example the recent Sex, Myths and the Menopause documentary presented by Davina McCall which prompted over 11,000 GP practices to sign up for additional training and drugs companies to change the labelling on Hormone Replacement Therapy.


Organisations which serve rural communities

Regional news is still the most important service the BBC and ITV provide – with the biggest audiences. The level of local detail reported in these bulletins will be at risk if budgets are cut.


Many people living rurally still cannot access fast broadband. Maintaining public service broadcasting on digital TV ensures that people are able to access TV and radio services without needing broadband.


Educational organisations

The BBC became the nation’s biggest classroom during the pandemic. BBC bitesize is used by 82% of secondary school students in the UK.


Funding cuts are already affecting the production of television made for young people in the UK with the £57million (across 3 years) Young Audiences Fund being the latest victim of cuts.


Organisations working with underrepresented communities

Although we know they can always do more, the Public Service Broadcasters strive to reach and represent citizens across the length and breadth of the UK and the issues they care about. A huge range of UK citizens are seen, given agency and provided with the opportunity to engage in active debate on TV and Radio, either within news or in other output such as drama.


There is no guarantee that commercial broadcasters or streaming companies will provide such content as their consideration is principally about the bottom line rather than serving a wide range of people.


How can you help?

The decision about the future of the BBC and Channel 4 should be made by the public and stakeholders – you!!!


We can help you make representations to Government and get your organisation’s voice heard.


Please get in touch with Pip Eldridge to find out more.


More information

We hope to help organisations get much more involved in responding to policy consultations on proposed changes to Public Service Broadcasting.


You will have the opportunity to:


  • Discuss changes with a Forum made up of different organisations across the UK
  • Speak directly to us so we can help you prepare submissions to consultations
  • Use our data to support your submissions

Or you may prefer to let us quote your organisation in our submissions if you don’t have enough time or resource to make your own submissions.


Your involvement might include:


  • Giving opinions on how to fund the BBC and other PSB content
  • Suggesting alternative ways of supporting public service broadcasting
  • Sharing concerns about access to public service broadcasting from your organisation’s point of view

We are working with Steering Group partners British Broadcasting Challenge, The Grierson TrustThe International Broadcasting Trust, The Carnegie Trust,   The Children’s Media Foundation, The Media Reform Coalition, The Sandford St Martin Trust and We Own It.


The Citizens’ Forum Project is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.


The Citizens’ Forum Project runs until September 2023.