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Ofcom unveils BBC regulation plan

12 December 2016
Ofcom unveils BBC regulation plan

Ofcom has released a document detailing how it plans to regulate the BBC from April next year.

The regulator will have responsibilities in key aspects of the corporation’s broadcasting activities as part of the Royal Charter for the 2017-27 period, including performance, competition and content standards.

Ofcom stated that it will recognise that responsibility for governance of the BBC will lie with the pubcaster’s new board, which will determine how to deliver the mission and purposes defined in the Charter. The board will set out the BBC’s editorial guidelines, while Ofcom will hold the BBC to account.

The regulator will develop an operating framework for regulation over the next few months.

The Broadcasting Code has not hitherto applied to areas of the BBC’s content regulated by the BBC Trust. Ofcom will consult on extending it to include on-demand programing, including BBC iPlayer.

Regarding competition, Ofcom said it would impose requirements on the BBC to avoid the relationship between its public-service activities and commercial subsidiaries distorting the market, or creating an unfair competitive advantage for the BBC’s subsidiaries.

Ofcom said it would have a ‘particular focus on assessing the distinctiveness’ of the BBC’s output. It will also hold the BBC to account to ensure it meets its obligations to serve all four of the UK’s nations as well as meeting diversity obligations.

The regime will be put out to consultation in the spring, with publication to follow next autumn.

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