‘Broadcasting: where are we going? More questions than answers’ , 24 November 2010, Geological Society, Piccadilly

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VLV's 27th annual conference on Wednesday, 24 November, will consider a range of questions raised by changes announced recently by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, Jeremy Hunt MP. They include the future use of licence fee income and the new responsibilities to be laid on the BBC for funding the World Service, S4C and BBC Monitoring, in addition to changes to the remit and powers of the media regulator, Ofcom.

Announced on the same day as the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, the decisions were taken without Parliamentary debate or public consultation, thus pre-empting the consultation and review process scheduled for spring 2011, in the lead up to a new Communications Bill in 2012. VLV's conference will provide licence fee payers and others their first opportunity to hear about the expected impact of the changes from some of those affected.

Commenting, VLV Honorary President and Founder, Jocelyn Hay said: 'These far reaching changes raise a number of important questions, not only about the nature and extent of new demands placed on the BBC's finances, but about the use of licence fee payers' money to finance services previously funded by Government Departments and whether those Departments will seek to set priorities for the licence-fee funded World Service and BBC monitoring and the Welsh language TV channel, S4C. The BBC, and therefore licence fee payers, will now also pay for the roll-out of broadband infrastructure in rural areas in addition to the costs of facilitating the switch-over to Digital Television and Radio transmission.

The changes announced to the remit and powers of Ofcom, the media regulator, are equally far-reaching, and over-ride safeguards built into the 2003 Communications Bill to ensure its independence. Such changes have implications for the democratic process and must be debated in public. VLV intends to provide opportunities for licence fee payers to do this at a series of events in the coming months. All will be open to the public.

Broadcasting: where are we going? More questions than answers'

Wednesday, 24 November, 10.30 – 3.30pm (coffee from 10.15am)
at the Geological Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1. Speakers include:

10.30am: Patrick Barwise, Professor Emeritus of Management and Marketing, the London Business School

11.30am: Lord Burns, Chair of Channel 4 television

12.45pm: Presentation of Prizes for VLV's 2010 Student Essay Competition by Jon Snow, Channel 4 News.

2.pm: Richard Klein, Controller BBC 4 with Roger Bolton, in the chair.

3.30pm: Tea followed at 4pm by the AGM of VLV Ltd

For more information please contact: Linda.Forbes@VLV.org.uk or call her on 01474 338711.

Voice of the Listener & Viewer (VLV) is an independent, not-for-profit association, free from political, commercial and sectarian affiliations, working for quality and diversity in British broadcasting. VLV represents the interests of listeners, viewers and increasingly new media users, as citizens and consumers across the full range of broadcasting issues. VLV supports the principles of public service broadcasting and is concerned with the structures, regulation, funding and institutions that underpin the British broadcasting system. VLV does not handle complaints.

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