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August 2018

Ofcom’s Regulation on the BBC

Interviewing Kevin Bakhurst, Group Director, Content Media Policy

Takanobu Tanaka

The 2017 renewal of the Royal Charter—the constitutional basic of the BBC—brought a major change in the governance system of the British public service broadcaster. Its internal governing body, the BBC Trust, was closed, and the regulatory functions over the BBC were transferred to the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which became the first external independent regulator. With its scope of regulation expanding to the public service broadcaster in addition to commercial broadcasters, Ofcom headhunted Kevin Bakhurst, then Deputy Director General of RTÉ, the public service broadcaster in the Republic of Ireland, as Group Director, Content Media Policy, to oversee U.K.’s broadcasting institution and content. Mr. Bakhurst has a long career at the BBC, including prominent positions such as Controller of a news channel and Editor of the BBC’s main evening news News at 10. The author interviewed Mr. Bakhurst in London in February 2018 to explore how Ofcom would regulate the BBC and what changes it would make to differentiate its governance from that of the BBC Trust under the leadership of Mr. Bakhurst.

The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research


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