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Welsh and Scottish Governments join forces to express ‘profound concerns’ over process to select Ofcom chair

20 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Paul Dacre giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry

The Welsh and Scottish governments have joined forces to express over the process to select the next Chair of Ofcom, and how it could have a detrimental impact on public service broadcasting in the UK.

The statement came as former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has pulled out of the contest to become the next chair of media regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom has wide-ranging powers over television and radio, including the ability to revoke the license of a broadcaster it does not believe is following its code of practice. Broadcasting is not devolved to Wales or Scotland but controlled by the UK Government.

In a letter to the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, Ministers from both Scotland and Wales have asked to be included in the process and to be given a role that ensures the selected candidate is “someone who can work impartially and independently in the interests of all the nations.”

It has been signed by the Scottish Government’s Culture Secretary Angus Robertson and Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes and the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Arts Dawn Bowden and Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters.

It says both governments are “extremely concerned about the perceived lack of impartiality and transparency of the current appointment processes at Ofcom.”

The letter adds: “Given the importance of public service broadcasting to our nations and the real impact for our nations of any decision on selecting the Ofcom Chair which is not transparent or impartial, we urge you to involve us fully in the process as is right to protect a system which is so important to the public in Scotland and Wales and all the UK.”

It was sent out under embargo shortly before Paul Dacre revealed in a letter to the Times, he said he was not going to re-apply for the role, after his initial application was rejected by a recruitment panel.

In the letter he described his experience as an “infelicitous dalliance with the Blob”. He also claimed that senior Whitehall figures were determined to exclude anyone with right-of-centre “convictions” from being appointed to senior public sector roles.

“To anyone from the private sector, who, God forbid, has convictions, and is thinking of applying for a public appointment, I say the following: the civil service will control (and leak) everything; the process could take a year in which your life will be put on hold; and if you are possessed of an independent mind and are unassociated with the liberal-left, you will have more chance of winning the lottery than getting the job.”

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William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
15 days ago

It is good to know that Scotland and Wales are cooperating to address the bulldozing attitude of Westminster in resolving “Union” agenda.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
15 days ago

I hope that the demands for consultation is wider than just one post in one body like Ofcom though that is a good start.
Paul Dacre, millionaire mock laird of a Scottish estate, is a pathetic 74 year old still desperate for validation. He needs to be retired.

Geraint
Geraint
15 days ago

“Standing up for convictions” and then throwing in the towel at the first sign of push back”. Is that how you describe a snow flake?

Robert Downing
Robert Downing
15 days ago

controlled by the UK Government. … by England’s MPs.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
14 days ago

The English BBC mostly only report negative things about Wales and when it comes to the weather in Wales if it’s only sunny in Wales they just skip over it.and when its rainy every where they say and especially in Wales it’s their fault that everyone thinks that it’s always rainy in Wales come on ofcom let’s have some balance reporting for Wales

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
14 days ago

I’m glad that both Welsh & Scottish Governments are making a stance regarding this would-be appointment. At present we are at the mercy of a Anglocentric centrist media that’s increasingly becoming a mouthpiece of the Conservative party. And this right-wing leaning hawk, and no doubt Conservative donor, Daily Mail editor/journalist Paul Dacre candidature as chairman of OFCOM would abused his position and pushed their narrow-minded agenda. His chairmanship would have had a sinister implications. OFCOM is an independent body separate from government that represents the interests of citizens and consumers by promoting competition and protecting the public from harmful or… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Y Cymro
Richard
Richard
14 days ago

Ofcom has long been a political football for both major parties- the connections at Wales and U.K. are just so obvious.

A a former board member of Oftel in Wales we welcomed the transition to Oftel but we’re so sad to observe party affiliations becoming more of a feature in the new set up.

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