“In defence of the BBC”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 4 October 2021

Welcome to ‘Mathew on Monday.’

This might seem a strange thing for someone whose years in professional broadcast journalism were spent entirely in commercial radio, but I love the BBC.

Maybe it’s because of some of the limitations of the commercial media landscape that I truly appreciate the jewel in the Crown, so to speak, that the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Now, of course, commercial broadcasters have their place and exist in a very competitive market place and I’m very proud indeed of my half-decade working as a reporter and news reader for a group of commercial radio stations in the Midlands and the journalism myself and my then colleagues produced as a very small team.

From my interviewing then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, then opposition leader and future Prime Minister David Cameron, to breaking stories and fronting fifteen minute news programmes…something unheard of on commercial music radio today.

But the BBC thanks, yes, to the unique and special way it is funded is quite rightly beloved by the nation and, thanks to BBC World News TV and BBC World Service radio, the world too.

It is, quite simply, the best broadcaster in the world.

From its unrivalled domestic and international news coverage, to its sporting output, coverage of the arts and culture, its mammoth online output, its dedicated programmes for younger viewers, and so much more.

Not forgetting of course the BBC’s regional TV programmes, such as in our patch ‘East Midlands Today’ and ‘Politics East Midlands’ both of which I’ve appeared on and it’s local radio stations; with the fantastic BBC Radio Leicester covering our county, again on which I’m occasionally a guest.

Now, the BBC isn’t perfect. 

No human organisation ever it is.

Sometimes it makes mistakes that make you cringe.

But at true national moments of celebration and commemoration we, in our tens of millions, turn to good old Auntie.

I was reading the press release over the weekend of the special and unrivalled coverage the BBC is going to be providing of the upcoming COP26 Climate Conference taking place in Glasgow.

Across TV, radio and online; from BBC Breakfast in the morning, through The One Show in the evening, to Newsnight at the end of the day; from special one off programmes to online global interactive forums, no one else can do what the BBC can.

There are, sadly, those who oppose the BBC and the way it is funded; they want to privatise it, sell bits of it off or close it down altogether.

They say it won’t exist in ten years time and that it won’t deserve too because it is ‘biased’ in its coverage of the big issues of the day.

But when politicians of both Left and Right accuse the Corporation of bias, as they regularly do, isn’t that actually proof that it is doing its job properly.

The almost a Century old BBC is part of what makes me and mullions of others so proud of being British.

Of being open and outward looking, of our diversity, of our unique humour and wry way of looking at the world, of our world leading artists, film makers and musicians; many of which the BBC supports.

We need the BBC and these values that it upholds now more than ever before.

We lose it at our peril.

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