Support the BBC, says Jo

In the House of Commons this week, Jo called on Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt to help the BBC remain strong and independent.

Jo Swinson praised the BBC for providing high quality programming and news coverage which is “free of the influence of commerce, or indeed Rupert Murdoch.”

She is supporting the continuation of the licence fee, following the Minister’s recent comments that there may be a case for cutting it.

Commenting, Jo said:

“The BBC is an important British institution, and one which provides excellent programming and news coverage which is respected all over the world. I have received many letters from constituents who agree that it is vital that the BBC remains strong and independent, and this means it must be properly funded.

“Having a publicly funded broadcaster ensures that there is a source of news which is not influence by commercial interests. Rather than cutting the licence fee, I would suggest that we ensure fee payers are getting value for money by opening the BBC’s accounts up to public scrutiny.”

The text of Jo’s question to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport appears below:

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): Does the Secretary of State understand the concern of many of my constituents and others across the country following the report in The Daily Telegraph of his comments on the BBC? They feel that its high-quality programming is something to be supported and celebrated, not least the excellent independent news coverage that is free of the influence of commerce, or indeed Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Hunt: I agree with the hon. Lady about the importance of the BBC spending money on high-quality programming. That is what the coalition Government believe is one of the primary roles of the BBC. I also agree with her that one thing that has made British broadcasting some of the highest-quality broadcasting in the world is that we have a mix of funding streams, including the licence fee, advertising-funded programming and subscription-funded programming. That is why we are happy with that structure and intend to continue with it.

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