Public wants reassurance that Ofcom process is fair – CAMRI Scholars sign letter to the FT.

1 June 2021
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Prof. Steven Barnett and Prof. Jean Seaton, along with CAMRI Doctoral Researcher, Chris Day, have joined other media campaigners in writing to the Financial Times about the process of appointing the new Chair of Ofcom. Their letter reads;

Ofcom, the media watchdog, sits at the centre of British cultural and democratic life. It is the guardian of rules on impartiality and accuracy.

It is these that ensure that our broadcasters are trusted sources of reliable information in an age of disinformation.

It holds our public service broadcasters to account for producing content that promotes British creative talent, for ensuring that production centres are spread throughout the country, and for reflecting the nations and regions of the UK.

The chair of Ofcom is therefore a vital public appointment that demands a rigorous, independent and transparent process to guarantee the best possible person for the job.

Yet it appears that there may have been undue political interference in the appointments process.

You report that the prime minister has ordered a rerun of the whole exercise, dismissing an independent panel and exposing the commissioner for public appointments, Peter Riddell, to pressure, after an already protracted and obscure process which has not been made public (“PM demands Ofcom rerun after Dacre rejected as new chair”, Report, May 28).

It is critical that we have confidence in the appointments system that selects the successful candidate. We call on the government to publish details of the appointments process so far, and to reassure audiences and the industry that it will not exert any political pressure on the selection process.

The letter was signed by Pat Younge, Managing Director Cardiff Productions; Professor Steven Barnett, The University of Westminster; Rosaleen Hughes, Researcher; Lindsay Mackie, New Weather Institute; Professor Jean Seaton, The University of Westminster; Chris Day, PhD Student; Chris Waiting, The Conversation Trust (UK); Jess Search, Chief Executive Doc Society

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