OurBeeb is a campaign to assert the need for the new Director General of the BBC, when appointed, to be accountable to the people – who, after all, directly fund the organisation through the licence fees virtually everyone pays.
OurBeeb is calling for the BBC to appoint the new Director General openly and transparently, with major senior media figures like Stephen Fry and Phillip Pullman already in support of this.
The campaign believes that it would be profoundly damaging for the BBC, in the continuing upheavals and revelations from the Savile child abuse trajectory, to try to appoint the new DG in the traditional clique-driven, behind-closed-doors, smoke-and-mirrors fashion.
It is calling for all those who are candidates for the post to publish a short outline of how they individually see the BBC being led out of this crisis, taken forwards to new strengths – and to be upfront with us all about the principles and values that lie behind their personal vision for it.
The departed George Entwhistle has been described by many as ‘a decent guy’ – but you have only to look at and listen to him to see clearly an appointment for the box-tickers and not for the robust creative leadership of which the BBC has been starved for too long. And he had a eye to the main chance – as in the rich financial arrangements he himself approved for his departure.
The Chair of the BBC Trust who appointed Entwhistle, Chris Patten, was also a poor appointment, this time by the government. Never living up to his puff in performance when an active politician, he has been an obviously disengaged bluffer, taking the money and the kudos of his position but offering no vigorous muscle to the role. Complacent doesn’t come close.
We need much better in both of these positions.
The BBC IS OurBeeb. It has a history of supporting the people and the country in difficult times – but it has a troubled recent history, under the morally and financially disastrous Blair regime.
It has never recovered from the weak leadership that saw it collapse under the illegitimate but vicious onslaught of Alastair Campbell over its reporting of the matters around the still inadequately explained death of Dr David Kelly. in the midst of the then government’s cooked up allegations of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
We have since seen a bizarre reversal of right, where an organisation doing what it should always do, covering such matters fearlessly, gave way in apologetic disarray that remains the case to this day, against the force of a dishonest regime whose prime movers continue to coin money and credit in the public eye.
Since then the BBC has been lightweight, fearful, ceding authority to Sky News which is the now the station of choice for anyone with a interest in news – formerly the unchallenged province of the BBC.
But the BBC does matter and it does have to be directly hard wired to the people who directly fund it – and not solely left to the representation through governments that has let us down as well over recent years.
The OurBeeb calls are sensible and level-headed, not a charge to the barricades.
The petition is here at Change.org for everyone in support of this position to sign.