BBC ‘NEVER MORE NEEDED’, SAYS HALL: The BBC was vital to democracy and had never been more needed  to counter the spread of fake news, Tony Hall, the BBC’s outgoing director general had told the Edinburgh Festival (inews 24/8). Adam Sherwin reported that Lord Hall had also claimed in the speech that the BBC had played a crucial role in countering ‘a misinformation pandemic’ about Covid-19 and could help encourage public take-up of a vaccine.  Other points in the speech had included:

  • The BBC needed to make greater strides on diversity, and attract people who had different ideas and came from different backgrounds
  • Referring to his decision that the use of the n-word on the BBC in a report about an attack on a black man was wrong, even though it had been uttered by his alleged assailants, that the BBC needed to listen and learn from its mistakes
  • That the BBC could help Britain to forge a new place in the world after Brexit, thus backing Boris Johnson’s ‘global Britain’ agenda. He asserted that no one could do more to carry Britain’s voice and values to the world and that the corporation could help UK trade

Mr Sherwin said that Mr Hall had revealed that the BBC was bidding for extra funding from the foreign office for the World Service to double its current audience to one billion by the end of the decade, and also had ambition to expand the current schools Bitesize offerings into a permanent ‘open school’ on lines similar to the open university.

SALMOND ‘CONSIDERING SUING BBC OVER TRIAL DOCUMENTARY’: Kathleen Nutt (The National 23/8) said that former SNP leader Alex Salmond was considering launching legal action for libel against a BBC2 documentary programme fronted by Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark about his trial in March on 13 sexual assault charges. Noting that Mr Salmond had been cleared on all the allegations against him, Ms Nutt  said that the programme had sparked a backlash from his allies who had said it amounted to a “TV retrial’.  She reported that he was now believed to be consulting lawyers about the legal action, and was also planning to make a formal complaint to the BBC about the documentary before commencing legal proceedings. Ms Nutt said the BBC had insisted it stood by the programme.


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