NUJ to calls on new BBC DG to rip up tainted deal
3 July 2012
The NUJ has invited George Entwistle, the newly appointed director general of the BBC, to a public meeting to debate alternatives to the BBC cuts.
George Entwistle, director of BBC Vision, is to take over from Mark Thompson on an annual salary of £450,000, compared with the £671,000 earned by his predecessor.
The meeting will be held at the House of Commons on 10 July, at 5.30pm in Committee Room 5.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"We wish George Entwistle all the best in his new job and look forward to a constructive and positive working relationship.
"I hope he will make it his priority to unpick the disastrous deal his predecessor negotiated with the government which resulted in the corporation agreeing to a licence fee freeze until 2017, while taking on extra expenses of £340 million.
"The Leveson Inquiry has put the spotlight on the shady deal conducted in secret between the BBC management and government. The new DG must take the brave step of bringing this deal into the open and consider a renegotiation. Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary at the centre of the deal, has been revealed as a 'cheerleader' for the Murdochs."
"We now know the extent to which James Murdoch was able to go right to the heart of the Tory-led coalition in meetings and cosy dinner parties with George Osborne and David Cameron to brief them against the BBC."
The former prime minister, Gordon Brown, told parliament in July 2011:
"[chairman of BSkyB] James Murdoch's aim was to cut the BBC licence fee, to force BBC online to charge for its content, for the BBC to sell off its commercial activities, to open up more national sporting events to bids from BSkyB and move them away from the BBC, to open up the cable and satellite infrastructure market, and to reduce the power of their regulator, Ofcom."
In an opinion article in the Sun on September 19, 2009, Jeremy Hunt, then Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, wrote:
"The BBC is the only broadcaster that gets a guaranteed income with the licence fee so it doesn't have to focus all its energies on chasing ratings – it can chase quality as well.
"We should not be having inflationary rises in the licence fee in a year when there's next to no inflation. If the BBC had any shame, they'd have waived this year's £68 million increase… with 47 BBC executives earning more than the Prime Minister, we need common sense on salaries."