Charities 'must get involved' in £100m Ofcom plan

A proposal by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom for a £100m fund to support community broadcasting could come to nothing unless charities get involved, the Media Trust has warned.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, proposed the fund, which he dubbed the Public Service Publisher, two years ago to promote programmes that reflect social issues. It is expected to be launched after the 2012 digital switchover.

The Media Trust has already been lobbying to play a crucial role in managing the fund, but Caroline Diehl, its chief executive, wants to see a coalition of charities involved with the initiative.

"Ofcom has two primary duties under the Communications Act 2003: one is to further the interests of consumers; the other is to further the interests of citizens," she said. "It expends a lot of effort on the former, but not on the latter. If this fund goes ahead, it would go some way to redressing the balance."

Diehl believes that the fund could help charities fulfil their duty to tell the stories of their beneficiaries. "It surprises me how little money charities still invest in creative content and storytelling," she said.

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