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MUSICIANS' UNION: An alternative vision for the BBC

Daniel Gumble
MUSICIANS' UNION: An alternative vision for the BBC

In its latest MI Pro column, the Musicians’ Union  outlines an alternative vision for the BBC…

The BBC is an essential part of the UK’s music industry. We’ve already talked about how many jobs it provides for musicians; how much support it gives emerging artists; and how music is a core component of the BBC’s radio and television programming. Now, we’ve joined forces with other trade unions in the entertainment sector, representing over a 100,000 working people, to launch our alternative vision for the BBC.

Our Alternative White Paper calls for the BBC to:

• Renegotiate its agreement to fund free TV licences for the over-75s, which could mean a loss of 20 per cent of its budget.
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• Be independent of government interference, by extending the charter period to 11 years to take it out of the political cycle.

• Have a governance structure which is not filled with government appointees and includes representatives of its staff and licence fee payers.

• Continue to be a universal broadcaster making a full range of popular drama and entertainment programmes, and provide news free of bias and maintain standards of accuracy and integrity in its journalism.  

We need a well-funded BBC to keep our world class orchestras, radio stations, and music programming, as well as new commissions and original scores for TV shows and films.

It’s also about equality - the BBC has a duty to represent the UK as a whole. It must be able to continue to support a wide variety of music genres on BBC Radio 1, 1xtra, 2, 3, 6 Music and the Asian Network, and provide a platform for a diverse range of emerging artists across local and national platforms.

That's just music.

This alternative vision for the BBC is that of the Federation of Entertainment Unions, made up of musicians, actors, writers, and those who work backstage to make radio, television and film a reality. It includes the journalists who keep us informed and the footballers who keep us entertained. We're working together to fight for our BBC.

And many politicians are on our side. At the launch of our Alternative White Paper, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Eagle MP, said: "The people of this country appreciate the BBC and want to keep it doing what it is doing. It is wrong that the BBC should be used as a political football and its independence has to be protected by politicians. This Alternative White Paper is an important voice that should be taken into account when the Government produces its White Paper."

Soon, the Government will launch its own White Paper, which will outline its position on the BBC. We hope that it will reflect the views of all those who took part in the consultation, including musicians. But it’s never too late to get involved and make your views heard.

Share our Alternative White Paper on the BBC’s future with your MP. Find out who they are via Write To Them, which you can also use to email the link to our Alternative White Paper along with a few words about why you feel the BBC is important. It only takes five minutes - and it could change the future of all those who love, work for and are inspire by our BBC.

Tags: bbc , musicians' union , mu , government

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