BBC News

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 20th September 2022.

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Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of the merger of BBC News and BBC World channels on domestic political news coverage.

Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the proposed merger between BBC News and the BBC World Service on the quality of news.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

The Government wants to see the BBC continue to serve both UK and international audiences with high quality, accurate and impartial news and information, which is an essential part of its Mission and Public Purposes.

The BBC is operationally and editorially independent from the government and the government cannot intervene in the BBC’s day-to-day operations. It would therefore be inappropriate for the government to intervene in their decision to merge BBC News and BBC World News.

Ofcom, as the independent regulator of the BBC, is responsible for ensuring that the BBC continues to meet the public service obligations set out in the BBC Charter, Agreement, and Operating Licence. In response to the BBC's announcement, Ofcom has said that it expects the BBC to be clear about how it plans to ensure that BBC News will continue to provide high quality UK news. Ofcom has also stated that it will continue to develop its understanding of the detail of the BBC’s proposals, and that if issues of concern arise Ofcom will work with the BBC to address them, and if necessary, take steps to ensure the BBC continues to deliver for audiences in the UK.

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