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BBC charter ‘needs public debate’

BBC charter negotiations should include a “proper public debate” and involve viewers, according to the chair of the organisation that oversees the pubcaster.

Rona Fairhead, who took over at the BBC Trust last year following Sir Chris Patten’s exit, will make her first speech since taking up the role at a Royal Television Society event this evening.

She will discuss the importance of the licence fee and argue that the discussion around the new-look charter should “not be conducted by a small elite.”

“I believe the debate must include the voices of all the people out there who pay for the BBC, who love its programmes, who are its true owners,” she will say.

Her comments follow a warning from BBC chief Tony Hall that the pubcaster is entering a period of “high risk” as it attempts to negotiate its royal charter, which is due for renewal in 2016 and sets out the parameters of its operations.

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