We can trust the BBC governors

Much of David Cox's article on the BBC governors ("Bring the BBC to heel", 10 September) is simply misinformed, and it is occasionally spiteful. Claiming that the governors receive no information other than from BBC management neglects the role played by more than 500 members of audience advisory bodies around the UK with statutory powers of influence, and the extensive public meetings programme undertaken by governors each year. Similarly, describing the rescheduling of the news to ten o'clock as a "dubious stratagem" fails to recognise its success in increasing audiences for television news.

More importantly, Cox exposes a fundamental flaw, in proclaiming the virtues of Ofcom regulating the BBC, by describing ITV and other commercial broadcasters as Ofcom's "clients". Carlton, Granada and Sky will rightly expect Ofcom to regulate in the interests of the market.

The BBC's governors, by contrast, supervise management's day-to-day running of the corporation and regulate its programmes and services solely in the public interest. How could the public trust Ofcom to regulate the BBC similarly in the public interest in the face of intense market pressure?

Simon Milner
BBC, London W1

This article first appeared in the 24 September 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The war that Bush cannot win