The Newspaper Publishers Association, representing the national press, is calling on the BBC Trust to undertake a Public Value Test to examine the BBC’s plans to launch a range of free mobile applications for smart phones, before the first one is launched in April.
The NPA has written to Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, and to the BBC’s director general Mark Thompson, to express the industry’s deep concern that the BBC would be allowed to launch such services without prior scrutiny.
David Newell, director of the NPA,questioned why the BBC Trust was “refusing even to examine the BBC’s plans prior to launch under the Public Value Test, when they know that the BBC will be launching such applications in direct competition with commercial operators’ paid-for or ad-funded applications for their online services?”
He wrote: “The BBC Trust’s apparent acquiescence in the BBC’s damaging expansion is even more concerning in view of the clash between the BBC’s proposals and the BBC Online Service Licence’s key characteristics and remit requirements that ‘BBC Online should, at all times, balance the potential for creating public value against the risk of negative market impact.’ ”
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