Tony Hall: UK needs strong BBC ‘more than ever in our history’

The UK needs a strong BBC “more than ever in our history” to counter fake news, carry Britain’s voice and nurture home-grown content in the face of global media competition, according to Tony Hall.

Tony Hall

Speaking at the Prospect National Conference in Birmingham this week, the BBC’s director general said that he is “very bullish” about the BBC’s future – “not least because right now we are so needed”.

Hall said the country needs the BBC to counter fake news both at home and abroad, to lead the way for trust, accuracy and integrity, and to “carry Britain’s voice and influence to the world at a crucial moment, when we are looking to redefine our global relationships and reshape our international identity.”

“It needs us to fly the flag for British content and invest in British creativity at a time when the giant global media companies are threatening to squeeze out the home-grown, British content that speaks directly to our communities.

“It needs us to help make the UK a digital winner, with world-leading creative industries that retain British public service values at their heart.”

Hall set out and discussed the BBC’s public service ideals to: serve everyone with quality; represent everyone; support education; act as a ‘ring master’ in bringing partners together; and to ‘live its values’, for instance by closing the gender pay gap.

Concluding, Hall described the need for a “public service renaissance” and for the renewal of public service values at the heart of British life.

“The disruptive forces of new technologies and new global media players have brought real benefit to people in the UK – incredible choice and fantastic new possibilities,” he said.

“Moving fast and breaking things is one thing. But in the process we can’t afford to break things that are uniquely British and uniquely valuable. That are, frankly, irreplaceable. I believe that public service broadcasting, along with the values that underpin it, are amongst those precious things.”

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