The Financial Express

BBC may not exist in 10 years for ‘elitist’ attitude, British secretary says

| Updated: October 06, 2021 20:56:27

Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries

Describing BBC as an 'elitist' and 'biased' broadcaster, British Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said the broadcaster may not exist in 10 years.

She also suggested that the BBC needs ‘real change’ in order to represent the entire UK.

Dorries said the broadcaster has a ‘groupthink’ and has been guilty of ‘tokenism’ when it comes to bringing in staff from different backgrounds, reports BBC.

"The days of tokenism are over. Real change has to happen, and that's what I'm here to make sure does happen," she told the Conservative Party Conference.

The BBC pointed to its track record of improving socioeconomic diversity.

Dorries' comments came in her first public interview since being appointed. Speaking at a fringe meeting in Manchester on Monday, she said the BBC was "a beacon for the world".

But people who have worked their way up "all come from a similar background, they all have a certain political bias, they all think the same and talk the same, and that's what's got to be changed", she said.

"They talk about lots to do with diversity but they don't talk about kids from working-class backgrounds, and that's got to change."

The organisation needs "a less elitist and a less snobbish approach" to recruiting staff, she told The Daily Telegraph's Christopher Hope.

"What I want to do is to have constructive dialogue with the BBC - how are you going to change? I don't want to go to war with you, but come and tell me, how are you going to change?"

She added: "We're having a discussion about how the BBC can become more representative of the people... who pay the licence fee, and how it can be more accessible to people from all backgrounds, not just people whose mum and dad work there, and how it can become, once again, that beacon for everybody."

Dorries would not be drawn on the future of the licence fee but said she didn't know whether the BBC would exist at all in 10 years' time given the competition from rivals like Netflix and Amazon.

The BBC declined to comment but highlighted the fact it was the first broadcaster to measure socio-economic diversity and the only media organisation to be listed in the Social Mobility Foundation's index of top 75 UK employers, which it has appeared in for the past four years.

As well as talking about the BBC, Dorries said Channel 4 "needs to change" too if it is to be successful in the future. "One of the obvious ways for doing that is for channel four to be privatised," she said.

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