Voluntary network pushes TV stations to fulfil public remit

The main television channels could face the wrath of their new regulator, Ofcom, if they fail to fulfil their obligations for public service broadcasting following a voluntary-sector campaign.

A network of voluntary organisations called Public Voice was set up two years ago to campaign for the preservation of public service broadcasting which would ensure that a proportion of TV programmes looked at topics such as international affairs, news and social issues. Public Voice focused on the Communications Bill which, the group feared, did not ensure that Ofcom had a duty to protect the interests of citizens.

However, on 4 March the Government introduced an amendment that fulfilled the wishes of Public Voice. "It is an important victory," said Don Redding, vice- chairman of Public Voice. "This is going to be one of the most powerful regulators in the country and the majority of people get most of their knowledge about the world from the media.

"We were attacking the Government from as many sides as possible at the same time," said Redding. Policy advisers were targeted as well as Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

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