The chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is urging the government to ensure the process to appoint the next Chair of the BBC and Chair of Ofcom is ‘fair and seen to be fair’.
It follows reports in last weekend’s Sunday Times that prime minister Boris Johnson was looking to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as the chair of Ofcom and former editor of the Daily Telegraph as chairman of the BBC. Both men can be said to be friends of the Conservative party and critics of the broadcasting establishment.
DCMS Committee is concerned that such action would cast doubt on the eventual appointments and the fairness of the process, regardless of candidates’ merits. It wants a statutory veto over the appointment and dismissal of the next chair of Ofcom.
DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “Those appointed to head up the BBC and the broadcasting regulator Ofcom will play a critical role in a fast-changing media landscape. Transparency must be at the heart of the process and this committee is determined to ensure that is what we will get.”
He said cabinet ministers must not indulge in public speculation or private briefing about potential appointments to either of these posts if the integrity of the appointments process is to be maintained.