Tim Davie, now the director-general of the BBC. Picture: REUTERS/NEIL HALL
Tim Davie, now the director-general of the BBC. Picture: REUTERS/NEIL HALL

London — The new boss of the BBC has told staff they should not air their own political views on social media because they risk damaging the British broadcaster’s reputation for impartiality.

Tim Davie, who became the corporation’s 17th director-general on Tuesday, said too much of its audience thinks the broadcaster is shaped by a “particular perspective”.

“If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC,” he said on Thursday in his first speech to staff.

Davie, who replaced Tony Hall in Britain’s most high-profile media job, needs to secure the future of the 98-year-old corporation at a time when its universal funding model, paid by every TV-watching household, is under attack from some lawmakers.

He said for the avoidance of doubt he did not want a “subscription BBC that served the few”, even if he suspected it could do quite well in certain parts of the country.

He is committed to a publicly funded BBC, he said, but it has to reflect all political views across all the UK and all age groups.

“This is not just an obsession with youth, it is a determination, an obligation to make all parts of the UK feel it is their BBC,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has questioned whether the corporation should be supported by the licence fee, given the growth of subscription services such as Netflix, and many in his Conservative Party have long criticised the BBC for what they perceive to be a left-leaning political bias.

Others on the opposite side of the political spectrum have also criticised some of the broadcaster’s news coverage.

Davie said he has no plans to close any TV channels or radio stations, but said there will be no “linear expansion” for the broadcaster, with any new services having to find space on its existing networks. 

Reuters

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