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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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A Culture of Dependency: Power, Politics and Broadcasters

A Culture of Dependency: Power, Politics and Broadcasters

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1994

(p.173) A Culture of Dependency: Power, Politics and Broadcasters
Television Policy

Greg Dyke

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, former director general of the BBC, attacks what he describes as the ‘culture of dependency’ in British television which subjects broadcasters to an increasing dependence on government ‘in some cases for their very existence and, in the commercial sector, for their financial success’. The Broadcasting Act 1990 sent a message to the ITV companies that ‘being a business was more important than being a broadcaster’. The result has been a shift in power to business executives rather than managers with a background in programme making; television programming promptly loses it critical edge. The author claims that it was the relationship between Ruper Murdoch and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher which ‘really changed the nature of the game’. This Faustian pact meant Thatcher enjoyed the political support of the Murdoch press while News International's majority ownership of BSkyB was exempted from consideration by broadcasting legislation. The author concludes by calling for the creation of a Government Commission on Broadcasting, the appointment of more independent regulators, and a guaranteed income for the BBC for ten years.

Keywords:   BBC, Broadcasting Act 1990, ITV, television programming, Ruper Murdoch, Margaret Thatcher, News International, BSkyB, Government Commission on Broadcasting, broadcasting

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