All Change at the BBC (or the council that never was)
There is much that is familiar in Whitehouse’s arguments in a society that is more and more concerned with the rights of the consumer. Expectations by the consumer of fair and just treatment and of a say in the organisation of the consumer society have spiralled in the past decade, and Whitehouse might well be said to have been one of the first consumer advocates in the field, since the need to give the audience for broadcasting a greater say in the running of broadcasting has been the Association’s primary policy commitment since its inception. Calls for structural change in the organisation of broadcasting are, however, by no means unique. Everywhere the existing forms of broadcasting are under siege, with calls for their greater accountability and responsibility. A principal theme is that in any liberal democratic society the allegedly powerful institutions of broadcasting must be accountable to agencies of the people, and that those agencies must be external to the organisational structure of broadcasting and must ultimately embody the interest, concerns and aspirations of those people and those communities which in their dazzling array constitute the plural society.1 Within this debate Whitehouse has consistently pressed ‘for the creation of a Listeners and Viewers Council, in order to influence the output of all the agencies of broadcasting by sound and vision in Great Britain’.
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Notes and References
- See A. Smith, The Shadow in the Cave: the Broadcaster, the Audience and the State (Allen & Unwin, 1973);Google Scholar
- A. Smith, ‘Television and the Individual Causes and Effects’, in Role and Management of Telecommunications in a Democratic Society (Council of Europe [DOC 3510], 1975 ).Google Scholar
- 2.NVALA, Recommendations as to How Viewers‘ and Listeners’ Views Can Best Be Represented (September 1973). See also Whitehouse, Cleaning Up TV p. 196.Google Scholar
- 3.NVALA, Recommendations to the Annan Inquiry into the Future of Broadcasting (1974).Google Scholar
- 7.M. Whitehouse, paper given at conference on the ‘Role and Management of Telecommunications in a Democratic Society’, Strasbourg, 1975, p. 2.Google Scholar
- 12.Whitehouse, ‘Television and the Consumer’, paper given at symposium on the Role and Management of Telecommunications in a Democratic Society, Munich, 24–6 June 1974.Google Scholar
- 16.W. Haley, ‘Moral Values in Broadcasting’, address (1948) to the British Council of Churches. This is an affirmation of the commitments of the broadcasting authorities to a Christian ethic.Google Scholar