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Shadow ministers urge BBC to become co-operative

Jowell and Miliband argue that move would make corporation more democratic.

Shadow cabinet minister David Miliband and shadow foreign secretary Tessa Jowell have called for the BBC to be transformed into a co-operative mutual society and be run by the public.

The two ministers argued in an article written for the pressure group Progress that the mutuality principle would allow licence fee payers to have a "democratic voice" in the corporation's activities, and also strengthen the democratic accountability of the BBC.

They noted that under such a system, the BBC membership will be open to all licence fee payers. Members could elect representatives who would in turn choose the majority of the BBC Trust that runs the broadcaster.

The duo added that when representatives who are directly accountable to their members run the corporation, they would have a clear mandate to canvas license fee payers on all major policy decisions.

The article suggested that such ideas should be considered by the BBC as it is one of the "most treasured and important public institutions".