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Professor Steven Barnett gives the Shirley Williams lecture on the future of the BBC

Professor Steven Barnett, a member of our steering group, yesterday delivered the Shirley Williams lecture, titled “100 years of the BBC: Britain’s extraordinary gift to the world, but for how much longer?” in recognition of the Corporation’s upcoming centenary. He spoke about the BBC’s critical importance for the nation, and argued for its “contribution to our democratic welfare, not just in the UK but around the world” as it faces growing authoritarianism and democratic backsliding. The value of the BBC, the challenges and threats it faces, and the ways in which those challenges and threats can be met are explored in the full lecture, which can be read by clicking the link at the end of this post.

The case for a vigorous, well resourced BBC today is in my view stronger than it has ever been – to ensure a guaranteed supply of original UK content made for UK viewers that reflects the nations and regions of this country; as a bulwark against the rising tide of disinformation and conspiracy theories that are fuelling autocratic regimes around the world; as a vital conduit of soft power and a hugely respected ambassador for Britain in a post-Brexit world; and as a trusted, easily accessible public space available to every single individual in the country for just 43p a day.

Professor Steven Barnett

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