Is OFCOM up to the job of arbitration of complaints about BBC content?

Depending upon which British newspaper one reads, the government seems to have decided (according to the Telegraph) to hand over the BBC Trust’s role to the UK communications regulator OFCOM – or not – according to the Guardian.BBC brick wall

Were that to be the case, it would not come as much of a surprise seeing as one of the conclusions arising from the DCMS inquiry into the future of the BBC was “The BBC Trust should be abolished and new arrangements made for the governance, regulation and oversight of the BBC”.

One consequence of such a step would be that late stage complaints concerning editorial issues would no longer be handled by the BBC. That topic was also addressed in the DCMS report published in February.

“…a common theme we have noted is that members of the public who believe they have reason to complain are often dissatisfied that their complaint or point of view has not been considered independently. For many the BBC Trust is essentially part of the BBC and as such the Corporation is seen as a self-regulating body and there is great dissatisfaction that there is no option for an impartial adjudication of a complaint about the BBC by an independent body.” […]

“We recommend that Ofcom become the final arbiter of complaints over BBC content including matters concerning impartiality and accuracy, but that complaints should be considered by the BBC in the first instance. Ofcom should be given additional resources for taking on this role which are commensurate with the responsibility and estimated workload. We believe this transfer of responsibility will, if anything, strengthen the independence of the BBC, and also make the complaints process simpler, and appear more transparent and fair.”

However, OFCOM’s record to date suggests that among the “additional resources” its management will need in order to effectively take on the suggested role of “final arbiter of complaints over BBC content” is a crash course in identifying antisemitism and the difference between “freedom of expression” and the propagation of pernicious antisemitic tropes.   

4 comments on “Is OFCOM up to the job of arbitration of complaints about BBC content?

  1. Great analysis, as usual.

    Duvidl reprises his comment from the above-linked BBC Watch piece of 9 February, adding that he doubts whether new teeth-given Ofcom supremo Sharon White will force publication of the 2004 internal BBC “Balen Report” of its (biased) Israel coverage:

    “Duvid Crockett, King of Delancey Street, /Home of gefilte fish and kosher meat
    FEBRUARY 9, 2015 @ 6:32 AM
    Duvidl is not surprised at OFCOM’s typically British anti-semitic response.

    This response from a paper-tiger-regulator embodies the heart and soul of British armchair antisemitism. It is the kind of response they might give to Sky News TV’s recent hostile interrogation of the British Chief Rabbi. It is the kind of response mirrored in the Charities Commission refusing to withdraw charitable status from well-known Arab terrorist-funding and enabling registered charities. It is mirrored in the Law Society emboldening and institutionalising sharia wills and investments. It is mirrored in the courts’ decision that they have jurisdiction over who can be considered a Jew and in the education system harbouring “Trojan Horse” “sharia” Jew-hate schools all over Birmingham It is mirrored in the BBC’s unconscionable Trot-infested Isra-hate bias and various other atrophying British institutions’ complicity in tolerating policies sympathetic to Jew-hatred.

    Teresa May, the Home Secretary, has herself banned the very informative American Jewish blogger Pamela Geller of “Atlas Shrugs” and Robert Spencer of “Jihadwatch” from entering the UK for no empirically-based reason.

    Little wonder then that British Jews now feel more uncomfortable than ever before in Duvidl’s lifetime. Little wonder then that the much-loved British Jewish actress Maureen Lipman is considering leaving the UK. Little wonder that the prescient British Jewish journalist Melanie Phillips is now presenting a superb radio show from Israel on Voice of Israel radio.

    As the author Anthony Julius finished the introduction to his 2010 book “Trials of the Diaspora” , “…my provisional judgement is that it is quite bad and might get worse. Certainly it would seem that the closed season on Jews is over.”

  2. Tunisia was not a terrorist attack. It was a loud protest by an activist that thought the British were violating his religious rights during their holy month.

  3. Pingback: Baroness Deech on the BBC complaints system and OFCOM | BBC Watch

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