Page 1, 25th October 1968

25th October 1968
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Page 1, 25th October 1968 — TV centre chief warns politicians
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TV centre chief warns politicians

BY A STAFF REPORTER

OLITICIANS who seek greater influence over the B.B.C. were attacked at the, weekend by Mrs. Grace Wyndham-Goldie, Director of Training at the Catholic Centre for Radio, Television and Cinema.

Mrs. Wyndham Goldie, who before joining the Catholic Centre was head of Talks and Current Affairs at the B.B.C., said she was "very alarmed" by Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn's attack on the corporation.

"It's a very dangerous situation where you seem to have the Labour Party on one hand demanding a TV service dominated by Whitehall and, on the other hand, the Conservative Party advocating a greater degree of commercialism."

Mrs. Wyndham-Goldie, who was speaking at the annual conference of the Catholic Look-Listen Movement in London, said despite what the politicians said "Britain has the best television service in the world, although there is, of course, still room for improvement," She said that having had experience of other countries' services. she was in a position to give an objective opinion. The reason for Britain's superiority was "because all parties had agreed in the past that broadcasting should not be dominated by the Government of the day nor by unrestricted commercialism."

Mr. Christopher Martin, Religious Programmes Officer at the Independent Television Authority, acknowledged Mrs. Wyndham-Goldie's confidence and stressed that those working in the medium "were always very conscious of their responsibility."

On the Vietnam march this Sunday. for instance, they had to decide whether it was in the best interests of the public to give the event advance publicity.

"Would drawing attention to the possibility of violence do more harm than good'?" he asked the Look-Listen delegates, who report their opinions of TV programmes to the B.B,C. and I.T.V. every month.

Representing some 40 groups up and down the country they -unlike Mrs. Mary Whitehouse's "watchdog" committee on TV morals and good taste— don't try to exert pressure but rather act as objective critics.

B.B.C. AUTHORITY

Mrs. Wyndham-Goldie made her attack the day after Mr. Wedgwood Berm the Minister of Technology. told a Labour Party meeting in Bristol "The B.B.C. retains, either on its staff or on contract, a host of commentators who, being free to comment, carry with them some inevitable suggestion of B.B.C. authority."

He said viewers and listeners had come to expect from certain well known broadcasters a particular line of thought which is peculiar to them. but which, through the power of the medium, inevitably shapes public thinking.

"What is wrong is that availability of access is still too restricted in that it is almost limited to a few hundred broadcasters, chosen by the B.B.C."

Mr. Wedgwood Benn's opinions. however, were not shared by Mr. Richard Crossman, Minister of Social Services. at a Guildhall lecture on "Politics and TV" in the presence of the B.B.C. Director-General, Sir Hugh Greene, on Monday evening.

After defending the editorial freedom of TV, he said: "Surely the truth is that in a free democracy a decline in the standards of the dominant medium (TV) sets the tone by corrupting all mass media.

"If TV trivialises great issues by snippety treatment, and personalises politics into vulgar gladiatorial shows between men who are constantly treated as though they were criminals or liars the Press will find it difficult not to follow suit."

Earlier Mr. Ray Gunter, former Labour Minister, described Mr. Benn's claim that "broadcasting was too important to be left to the broadcasters" as "frightening."




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