Why Quality Broadcasting Matters

Lord Reith’s dream: to have the best of everything in everyone’s homes.

Radio and television, whether viewed or listened to using a TV or radio set or online, are essential for a well-functioning, well-informed society.

We are influenced by what we see, hear and read and it is crucial this content is of the highest quality if we are to be informed, engaged and active citizens.

Broadcasting is a very powerful medium which can change public opinion on a whole range of issues. It can motivate us to take action to improve our lives and the world around us – from issues such as climate change and plastic pollution to health and social issues such as mental health and homelessness.

This isn’t only done through news; drama and documentaries, comedies, children’s programmes and other content all play a role in engaging us with a huge range of issues and stories which influence the way we live our lives and view the world.

Broadcasting should ‘enrich individuals with knowledge, culture and information about their world, to build more cohesive communities, to engage the people of the UK and the whole globe in a new conversation about who we are and where we are going …put to work to the sole benefit of the public.’ (Building Public Value, BBC 2003)


TV and radio content in the UK is regulated to provide an accurate and impartial picture of the world around us. Newspapers and online news sites are not required to provide impartial news, but TV and radio are. It is crucial at a time when democratic processes all around the world are being undermined by social media and people who intentionally publish disinformation to mislead citizens, that we have trustworthy sources of news if we are to be well-informed and able to hold politicians, companies and institutions to account.

Culture, history and traditions

To fully understand the world we live in, we need to be engaged by content which explains our history, society and the different cultures which make up UK society. TV and radio need to reflect who we are. They need to hold a mirror up so we are engaged by content which is relevant to us. We need drama, current affairs, history, arts and religious programmes and a range of programmes for children of different ages.


Everyone needs to have access to this content. It needs to be provided to everyone at the same cost so it is fair for all and keeps the household cost low. When there are moments of national importance universality means that broadcasters can bring us together as a nation.