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BBC boss Tim Davie warns "opinion columnists" and social media warriors, "You have no place here".


The BBC's new director general has warned staff who want to be columnists with an opinion or wake up online activists: "You shouldn't be working here."

Tim Davie, who took over this week, said the broadcaster “urgently needs to campaign for impartiality”.

He insisted that his drive was "free from political prejudice, guided by the pursuit of truth, not by any particular agenda".

But it came just days after he did a radical overhaul of the station's comedy production over the coming months for fear that it would be viewed as "too one-sided".

His latest remarks – widely seen as a blow to the wake-up moderators voiced on Twitter – came after he ordered a U-turn on the last night of the Proms to ban Rule Britannia and the Land of Hope and Glory.

The comments were included in his first official speech in Cardiff on Thursday lunchtime and follow controversies over impartiality, including Newsnight host Emily Maitlis, who made a splash with a monologue on Dominic Cummings' restricted row.

The BBC later said the episode "did not meet our standards of due impartiality".

BBC breakfast host Naga Munchetty was also reprimanded last year after commenting on US President Donald Trump's remarks.

Mr Davie said, “We urgently need to work for impartiality. It's available and it's important.

“When you work here, nothing should be more exciting than exploring different perspectives, curiously searching for evidence and giving creative testimony. Using our own experiences, but not driven by our personal agendas. I wonder if some people worry that impartiality could be a little boring.

“To be clear, it's not about giving up democratic values, like advocating for fair debate or a disgust for racism. But it is about being free from political prejudice, guided by the pursuit of truth, not by any particular agenda.

"If you want to be an opinion columnist or a partisan fighter on social media, this is a valid choice, but you shouldn't be working for the BBC."

The BBC's new Director General Tim Davie made his first speech today in his new job

Tim Davie, the new BBC General Manager, is coming to Glasgow for his first day in the role at BBC Scotland

Tim Davie, the new BBC General Manager, is coming to Glasgow for his first day in the role at BBC Scotland

Previous TV highlight of the new BBC DG

"If you want to be an opinion columnist or a partisan fighter on social media, this is a valid choice, but you shouldn't be working for the BBC."

“I want a radical shift in our focus from internal to external to focus on those we serve: the public. From Cornwall to Shetland, from Suffolk to County Fermanagh & # 39;

"I want the staff to spend a lot more time outside of the BBC listening to those who pay for us."

"We have to choose our battles carefully and make sure we get the biggest bang for limited dollars."

“It's so easy to roll our eyes when we hear about bureaucracy and domestic politics as if it can't be changed. But we can and should be better. & # 39;

He warned there was "no room for complacency" about the station's future.

The new director general added that it was "still relevant to the lives of millions of people".

But he insisted that "when we look to the future, there is no room for complacency. The truth is that in all of our extraordinary endeavors, there is considerable risk.

"If current trends continue, we won't feel indispensable enough to our entire audience. We need to evolve to protect what we value.

"The evidence is clear – the future of a universal BBC can no longer be taken for granted."

He also said the station had spread "too thinly" in competition with streaming giants.

He suggested it was time to stop doing some shows and called for an end to the "dangerous" navel gazing on the BBC.

In his speech, which raised questions about the future of TV licensing, it became clear that he opposes the idea of ​​a "subscription" model and says it would "serve the few".

But the audience's "deep bond" with the BBC "is under pressure and cannot be taken for granted," he added.

He said there were no short-term plans to shut down channels, but "this moment marks the end of linear expansion for the BBC".

Mr Davie had lifted the BBC's ban on patriotic anthems on the last night of the Proms

Mr Davie had lifted the BBC's ban on patriotic anthems on the last night of the Proms

The new director general says the BBC must "earn less" as he suggests the broadcaster could root out content

The new head of the BBC has suggested that the broadcaster could experience deletion of content.

The company has become increasingly responsive to competition from US giants, said Tim Davie.

But it was time to "do less," said the general manager in his first speech to the staff.

"The truth is, we've tried to cope with increased competition by doing more and stretching too thin.

"Obviously, as the BBC, we have to offer a wide range of choices and we shouldn't fall back on a narrow range," he added.

"But we've been too slow to stop things that don't work."

Davie, the 17th general manager, said, "We're going to look in all areas to see how we can make more impact by doing less."

"I want us to think about what we would do if we could only earn 80% of our current hours. What would we stop?"

He said the "simple" move is not about "cutting to save money".

Davie has praised dramas like Normal People, Line Of Duty, Fleabag, an EastEnders special, and documentaries Blue Planet 2 and Once Upon a Time in Iraq.

He said Strictly Come Dancing, Wimbledon, Comedy This Country, coverage of the BBC's VE Day 75, the BBC Bitesize education service, the World Service, and regional and national news are examples of where the station connects with audiences.

And "we will not hesitate to close channels if they are of no value to our audience," he added.

Mr. Davie is also considering alternative funding options for the organization.

The BBC's current royalty model is guaranteed until 2027 under a royal charter.

However, there is growing speculation that Mr Davie may change the funding model for a new long-term option sooner, reports The Guardian.

The Swedish income tax model is an option, while Mr Davies predecessor Lord Tony Hall previously mentioned an option where the fee is added to the council's tax burden.

Lord Hall's exit after seven years in the role came at a turbulent time for the BBC.

The broadcaster is facing an examination of equal pay, diversity, free TV licenses for people over 75 and competition from streaming services such as Netflix and the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Davie served as acting general manager for four months prior to Lord Hall's appointment following the resignation of George Entwistle in November 2012, and was previously Head of Audio for the company.

Before joining the BBC in 2005, he worked in marketing.

Davie started out when the BBC debated controversially about the decision to play orchestral versions of Rule, Britannia! and land of hope and glory on the last night of the Proms.

The BBC is also expecting Richard Sambrook to report on the use of social media by its staff, including the moderators.

It comes as The Mail revealed on Sunday how a former Downing Street aide is behind a secret new project to set up an "impartial" television news channel that can rival the troubled BBC.

Sir Robbie Gibb, who prior to his appointment as Theresa May's Communications Director, was the BBC's No. 10 executive, is a pioneer in fundraising for GB News.

The 24-hour station, which is slated to start early next year, is said to benefit from growing dissatisfaction with the BBC. Sources describe it as an antidote to the Woke, Wet Corporation.

Former BBC director Lord Tony Hall played the role before Mr Davie and left last month

Former BBC director Lord Tony Hall played the role before Mr Davie and left last month

Sir Robbie's channel will use standard digital platforms such as Freeview and has already been licensed by the Ofcom broadcaster.

The pressure on the BBC will continue to increase with the development of a second competing news channel from Rupert Murdoch's company News UK, which will likely be streamed online in a manner similar to Netflix.

Sir Robbie's venture comes amid mounting tensions between No. 10 and the BBC. Downing Street says the company is only speaking to a "pro-remain metropolitan bubble" and Boris Johnson accuses the BBC of "being ashamed of our history".

The government regularly boycotts flagship news broadcasts like Radio 4's Today, while Downing Street is also considering accelerating its plans to decriminalize the non-payment of the £ 157.50 per year license fee.