Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The failures of OFCOM? (and others)

Now I've had an interest in the subject of participation TV for some time and I noticed at the weekend that a story was running in the Mail on Sunday regarding the 'whistleblower' Bob Winsor, Bob has been seemingly tireless in his attempts to get to the bottom of unfair practices around ITV Play and others.

Bob was kind enough to send me e-mails covering his latest go at the' cover up' here is the contents: (be interesting to see who gets the new top jobs at ITV)

Subject: finally re public trust

Dear all implicated in parliamentary/Government malpractice,

I would just like to add how far Ofcom and the Government will go to cover-up this (besides sending police on a hoax suicide call, falsifying consumer complaint records and obstructing the fraud squad).

Channel 4 News and ITV evening news wanted to interview me at the height of the scandal but whenever I tried to return their calls Kate Mayne at ITN Legal ordered ITN telephonists watch for calls and to ask me the nature of my story. When I did call I was then told that no news teams wanted to know my story and that they were not interested. Channel 4 News were furious at this attempt by ITN Legal to censor the news.

Similarly, when I was interviewed by Jon Snow Kate Mayne then manipulate a police statement and gave it to Jon Snow to read out as BGTV's right to reply. The reply said that police had found all my allegations to be completely without foundation etc. Polce and CPS both confirm they said no such thing. Ofcom then refused to uphold my complaint about factual inaccuraces on a news programme. Victims then contacted Ofcom and BGTV (this is why the complaints are 49+) but were told by both Ofcom and BGTV that police had found all allegations to be without foundation and so no refunds would be given to victims. To drive this message home Ofcom's Tim Suter then went on Panorama and encouraged consumers to keep on playing (being scammed) by the quizzes.

To cap it all Michael Grade prevented me from giving evidence to deloitte's but when i did eventually manage give evidence to Deloitte's (with two ITV lawyers present) all my evidence was censored from the report and Michael Grade lied to C4 News and Newsnight by stating

'nothing even verging on criminality has ever happened at ITV. This is not me saying this it is the lawyers'.

The only way all of the above could have happened and Michael Grade could be so confident is his lies is through the Establishment, the Government and Ofcom and the select committees protecting him at a huge a cost to the electorate. As for the news censorship and manipulation of a police statement such behaviour is more akin to a dictatorship.

I am very well aware that apparent justice is everything as far public trust is concerned but if MPs are serious about cleaning up parliament, then I suggest something is done about this continuing cover-up. If it comes out later then the public will know that the current clean-up was no more than a PR/damage limitation exercise.

Bob Winsor

Monday, May 25, 2009

A man of Trust ( the BBC's anyway)

About 2 years ago Sir Michael Lyons took over as the Chairman of the BBC trust the new body formed to keep a watch over the BBC on behalf of the licence payer, last week at an RTS early evening function he shared his thoughts on the BBC and the trust.

Looking a bit like Barry from Eggheads Sir Michael started his lecture with6 points which he considered as the prime commitments that the trust should be concerned with:

1) Standards - The trust should maintain the highest editorial standards and keep a political balance.

2) The BBC should serve all audiences and try to avoid a metropolitan bias. It should be concerned with all the faiths of its audiences and those of none.

3) The BBC should be a leader in terms of content providing what the market failed to deliver, its content should be distinctive- Sir Michael cited The Long March to Finchley as an example. It should continue to provide a technical lead with such innovations as the iplayer.

4) The BBC should do all it can to support UK PSB, it has no desire for a monopoly and wants to help with joint ventures - Sir Michael spoke of the possible CH4/ BBC Worldwide partnership, the work with ITV regional News and its project canvas co-operation with BT.

5) The BBC should give value for money with a rigorous stewardship of public funds and continuing improvements in its efficiency.

6) The BBC trust must ensure that the BBC remains independent and untainted by commercial influence.

Although somewhat less than charismatic Sir Micheal gave the impression of being the right man to chair the Trust.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

TV 's future can benefit from looking back ..

There’s a danger for many that at the mention of the words archive and library they will suffer a near instantaneous draining of all blood from the head and a sudden feeling of sleepiness but Archive is big news in the TV world.

Roly Keating gave a great performance as the speaker at the inaugural Jane Mercer memorial lecture under the auspices of Focal International and with the support of the London section of the Royal Television Society. The lecture held at the former LWT centre earlier this week was well attended and those present had there attention held by the enthusiasm of the speaker

Although diplomatically distancing himself from a previous euphoria where it was considered realistic to release much of the BBC’s treasures as ‘creative commons’ he spoke eloquently about the long term aspirations to enable deep access to significant footage and documents held by the BBC.

Undoubtedly there are issues around the vast cornucopia of material over half a million hours of TV and a similar amount of radio plus rushes, stills and documents. The related logistics and rights clearances for such a gargantuan task is enough to raise a cold sweat in even the most able of archivists and explains why Roly was talking of a timescale of something like a decade.

Unusually for a BBC executive Roly seemed to be happy to speak with a refreshing lack of corporatist flannel and kept to a minimum the repetition of the current BBC's ‘partnership’ mantra but rest assured this is a topic that is as significant as it is immense in the future of broadcasting and multimedia authoring and it seems the BBC has the right man leading on it.