A report by Brunel University journalism lecturer Jacquie Hughes on the future of current affairs programmes in the wake of Government proposals for the new Communications Bill has been distributed to every member of both Houses of Parliament.
Hughes, who also works as a journalist and TV producer, was commissioned to write the report by the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT), an educational and media charity. Entitled “An Uncertain Future – the threat to current affairs,” the report recommends that the Government should ensure that there is no diminishing of standards or peak hour transmission in public affairs broadcasting.
Hughes said: “Independent producers say that without regulation, current affairs would marginalised, commercial broadcasters would be far less likely to commission it at all, and, if they did, it would be softer and there would be fewer international stories.”
Sophie Chalk, IBT’s Director of Campaigns, added: “We believe that current affairs programming on television is essential in a modern democracy. It uncovers those stories that we wouldn’t otherwise see.”
The report was launched at ITN’s offices in London, where an invited audience of academics, broadcasters, journalists and politicians took part in a roundtable discussion. The outcome from the debate was sent to Ed Vaizey, the Secretary of State responsible for culture and media.