New BBC boss says staff should not air their views on social media

LONDON, Sept 3- The new boss of the BBC told staff they should not air their own political views on social media because they risked damaging the British broadcaster’s reputation for impartiality. “If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC,” he said on…

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – The new boss of the BBC told

staff they should not air their own political views on social

media because they risked damaging the British broadcaster’s

reputation for impartiality.

Tim Davie, 53, who became the corporation’s 17th directorgeneral on Tuesday, said too many of its audience thought thebroadcaster was shaped by a “particular perspective”.

“If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisancampaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but youshould not be working at the BBC,” he said on Thursday in hisfirst speech to staff.

Davie, who replaced Tony Hall in Britain’s most high-profilemedia job, needs to secure the future of the 98-year-oldcorporation at a time when its universal funding model, paid byevery TV watching household, is under attack from somelawmakers.

He said for the avoidance of doubt he did not want a”subscription BBC that served the few”, even if he suspected itcould do quite well in certain parts of the country.

He was committed to a publicly funded BBC, he said, but ithad to reflect all political views across all of the UnitedKingdoms and all age groups.

“This is not just an obsession with youth, it is adetermination, an obligation to make all parts of the UK feel itis their BBC,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has questioned whether thecorporation should be supported by the licence fee, given thegrowth of subscription services such as Netflix, and many in hisConservative Party have long criticised the BBC for what theyperceive to be a left-leaning political bias.

Others on the opposite side of the political spectrum havealso criticised some of the broadcaster’s news coverage.

Davie said he had no plans to close any TV channels or radiostations, but he said there would be no “linear expansion” forthe broadcaster, with any new services having to find space onits existing networks.(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison)

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