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Federation of Entertainment Unions calls for independent BBC board

The FEU says the appointment of the BBC's chair should no longer be at the gift of the UK government

The Federation of Entertainment Unions, which comprises over 130,000 union members working in TV, film, cinema and other areas of the entertainment industry, is calling for a new independent body to oversee the BBC.

The FEU made the call as Dame Elan Closs Stephens took over as acting chair of the BBC following Richard Sharp’s resignation.

In a statement, the FEU says the appointment of the BBC’s chair should no longer be at the gift of the UK government.

“The board’s job is to ensure the BBC ‘delivers its mission and public purposes’ and monitor policy on changes to the corporation’s public service activities,” added the statement.

“The NUJ is in dispute over changes and cuts to local radio, the Musicians’ Union members were threatened with job cuts in the BBC Singers and the English orchestras, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Equity have raised concerns about the future of scripted comedy, drama and content for children across TV and audio, and Bectu members face seemingly constant uncertainty through a plethora of restructures.”

It states that in order for the BBC to continue as a “strong and thriving public service broadcaster” and “independent champion” should be appointed who will act in BBC staff’s interest. “If the BBC is to prize its impartiality, it must be impartial at the top,” said the statement.

The FEU said that many of the BBC’s problems are down to under-funding, adding that the broadcaster needs a board “that is prepared to stand up to the government rather than be its puppet”.