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Demands for Diversity at BBC by Exiting Network Boss

August 24, 2020, 11.18 PM

LONDON, - In his final speech on Monday, Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, asserted that the network must do more to become a diverse organization.

Tony told Edinburgh TV Festival in an online speech that in the age of misinformation, public service values have “never been more needed”.

"We have to attract people who are different, who have different ideas, who come from different backgrounds, who have different opinions about what matters," said Hall.

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His comments come after the British Broadcasting Corporation announced in June that it would commit £100m ($131 million, €111 million) of its TV budget over three years to produce "diverse and inclusive content".

That announcement for more diversity came following global outrage and protests caused by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died during an arrest by US police.

The BBC, funded by a compulsory annual license fee of all viewers with TV sets, has set itself a mandatory target of 20 percent of off-screen talent coming from under-represented groups, including BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people) or socially disadvantaged people.

Hall also defended the work of the BBC and other public service broadcasters, which has come under virulent attack in the UK in recent times from right and left-wing political groups for its coverage of such events as Brexit.

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"Public service values have never been more needed," he said.

"People outside this country envy what we have. PSBs are under threat everywhere — of course we always need to adapt and reform, yet we are a vital part of any country's culture."

Tony Hall added that in an age of disinformation, the BBC's role as a news provider was more important than ever.

"It's right at the heart of this duty to help bring the nation together.

"The forces of disinformation and social media tend to feed on fracture and drive polarisation."

Hall steps down at the end of this month. He will be succeeded by Tim Davie, who currently heads the BBC Studios commercial arm. 

(Writers & Editors: DMH/PHZ/LC, Agence France-Presse) 


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