Bbc Chief Says Impartiality Rules Are Outdated
British regulations requiring that broadcasters be politically impartial are outdated in the era of the Internet, the BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, said Thursday night. Britain's Guardian newspaper reported today (Monday) that Thompson's remarks, made at a seminar on impartiality in broadcasting, caught several BBC journalists, including Nick Robinson, its political editor, by surprise. The Guardian quoted Thompson as saying that in the past "there was a logic in allowing impartial broadcasters to have a monopoly of the broadcasting space. But in the future, maybe there should be a broad range of choices. Why shouldn't the public be able to see and hear, as well as read, a range of opinionated journalism and then make up their own mind what they think about it?" He argued that the BBC and ITV should continue their tradition of impartiality and he expressed doubt that "polemical" channels would result in the equivalent of a Fox News channel becoming dominant. As for Rupert Murdoch's Sky News, Thompson disclosed that Murdoch once told him that he would like the satellite news service to go down a "Fox-style" route but that the Editors of the channel had objected.