Sir David Clementi, Chairman, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Royal Television Society (RTS) Cambridge Convention, 13-15 September 2017
Sir David provides observations on his first six months as Chairman as well as setting out how the BBC’s public purposes will be central to achieving the Corporation’s vision to reinvent itself for a new generation.
I have enormous respect for all journalists — not just BBC journalists — who do this day in, day out.
And this brings me to an issue that has concerned me since I became Chairman.
Speaking to our journalists, I’ve become increasingly aware of the abuse that some of them — particularly female journalists — are subject to, on an almost daily basis.
I’m pleased that the Committee on Standards in Public Life is conducting a review into the intimidation of MPs.
It’s important our elected officials should be able to carry out their duties without fearing for their safety, but we must also support our journalists and call out the abuse that they are receiving.
These days, there is much more abuse. It’s increasingly explicit and aggressive, and much of it occurs online.
We welcome the work the Government is doing to tackle this, and I’m following closely the efforts of Twitter and Facebook, amongst others, to clamp down on the perpetrators.
But some of this abuse also occurs in plain sight at press conferences and political gatherings on all sides. Politicians cannot stand by and watch. They must confront any abuse, and make it clear that it’s intolerable.
The journalists of the BBC — when abused simply for doing their job — should know they have the determined support of the Board to stamp it out.
Sir David Clementi, Chairman of the BBC
Royal Television Society Convention
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Wednesday 13 September 2017