BBC unveils steps to restore public trust

The BBC director general has set out a number of proposals designed to restore trust between politicians, the media and the public but has ruled out tighter regulation.

In a speech to be given in London this evening, Mark Thompson will outline a series of initiatives planned by the BBC to help restore public trust.

Referring to Tony Blair’s speech last June in which he likened the media to a ‘feral beast”, Thompson will say that Blair had been right to suggest that the relationship between the media and the public sphere in Britain had been damaged.

But Thompson adds: “It’s difficult to see how any new regulation consistent with press freedom could significantly address the ills he listed that day. And if my diagnosis of the problem is right tighter regulation might actually increase rather than decrease public distrust.”

The series of initiatives are designed to be ‘the first move’in restoring trust by the BBC.

New steps will include a multimedia portal offering political coverage and analysis to every UK secondary school; opening up the corporation’s journalism and training through initatives with the Reuters Institute, university departments and the media; a number of multi platform set pieces on a range of stories like last year’s Iraq Week.

On its political overage, Thompson will say BBC output would be geared at exploring policy rather than simply reacting to what’s been said and will work ‘harder’at exposing spin.

The BBC will, however, not be asking its top interviewers to tone down their interviewing style, Thompson will say.

‘I don’t believe that the public want to see less rigour in our questioning of politicians and other public figures: if anything, they want to see more,” he says.

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