The outgoing director general of the BBC will use one of his final speeches as a clarion call for the British broadcaster’s importance in a world ravaged by misinformation.
Before stepping down next month after seven years in the top job, Tony Hall will tell the Edinburgh TV Festival on Monday that fake news is as rife as coronavirus, and the BBC’s public service values “have never been more needed.”
Reflecting on an interview he conducted with WHO executive director Michael Ryan, Hall will tell the virtual Edinburgh event: “Even if we have a vaccine tomorrow — up to thirty percent of people, according to polling, would not use it. There is, he said, another pandemic… that of misinformation.”
The BBC’s “responsibility as the UK’s most trusted news provider has never been clearer and more important” in this environment, Hall will add, following the broadcaster’s bulletins reaching audiences of 20M a week at the height of the pandemic.
The BBC director general, who will be replaced by BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie, will also touch on the broadcaster’s importance in projecting Britain to the world following Brexit.
“No one can do more to carry Britain’s voice and values to the world,” he will say. “This could hardly be more important as Britain sets out to forge a new relationship with the world, based on an ambitious vision of ‘Global Britain’. Success will mean drawing on all our considerable international assets. And that means unleashing the full global potential of the BBC.”
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