'If James Murdoch ran Bupa he would attack NHS'

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear hit back at James Murdoch’s recent public criticism’s of the BBC when he addressed the TUC conference yesterday.

He said: “In reality increasing commercialisation of the media has not delivered real choice for citizens it has led to greater conformity, less choice and fewer jobs.”

Dear’s attack from Liverpool comes a week after Murdoch called for the licence-fee to be scrapped.

He said: “If James Murdoch ran BUPA he’d attack the NHS, if he ran a private school he’d savage state education, he doesn’t, he runs a private media organisation and he is attacking the BBC – urging the government to slash its funding, to force it to privatise Radio 1 and BBC Worldwide, to stop it delivering online news free-at-the-point-of-delivery – or ‘state-sponsored journalism’ as he calls it.

“And he is egged on in his attacks by those other commercial media owners and corporations who serve not your, but their narrow interests – profit and market share.”

Dear also attacked the government over proposals to use the 3.5 per cent of licence fee funding allocation to digital switch-over to funding alterantive public-service-broadcasting outside the BBC.

Dear said: “Let’s put this in to perspective – it is the equivalent of a Labour government taking money from NHS hospitals and handing it over to private health contractors.”

He said: “We (the TUC) stand unashamedly for public service values in broadcasting. We believe that the supply of the independent information people need to be engaged citizens is too important to be left entirely to companies motivated primarily by profit.”

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