The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Broadcast 2040+ Petitions Parliament

The Broadcast 2040+ Campaign, of which CMF is a part, says if you are concerned about public service media continuing to be universally available: sign this petition.

As mentioned in the CMF September 2022 Newsletter, significant policy decisions about broadcast television and radio will be made at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 later in the year. With the government guaranteeing nothing beyond 2030, there is much at risk. Having gained enough support from viewers and listeners across all four nations to demand a formal response from the Government, Broadcast 2040+ is now pushing for a debate in Parliament, through a Parliamentary Petition. If you want to know more before you sign, Flora Marking from Broadcast 2040+ explains why…

Millions of children and families rely on digital terrestrial television (DTT) – mostly known as Freeview – and broadcast radio. These services are vital for children, particularly those who are living in low-income households as they are the least likely to have a superfast broadband connection, their own internet device to access streaming apps, or the budget to afford subscription costs.

83% of low-income broadcast viewers see the services as an important source of cheap entertainment*

This is especially true during the current cost of living crisis families in the UK are facing. DTT and radio - which are free at the point of use - offer great value for money meaning that no child is left behind when it comes to accessing content.

66% of Freeview viewers with children see broadcast as better for their kids than online viewing*

Broadcast TV and radio - which is highly regulated - is also a safer mechanism for children to consume content. Content that children can access online is not yet regulated in the same way, meaning children watching TV via streaming could access potentially harmful content.

However, the Government’s current policy means these services are only guaranteed until the early 2030s. Indeed, there are a number of decision points in the coming years where as a nation we will decide whether to keep broadcasting or to start switching it off. The most immediate of these is the World Radiocommunication Conference in November 2023, where nations from around the world will meet in Dubai to determine whether broadcast TV will retain its current allocation of spectrum radio frequencies - commonly known as radio waves - which enable broadcast to be delivered across the UK. The UK will be represented by Ofcom, and it is essential that our representatives defend broadcast TV’s spectrum – ensuring no change.

Ofcom, the regulator, is also undertaking a review of the UK TV distribution market, to be completed by 2025. This will influence whether universally available broadcast TV begins to be switched off.  Broadcast services are also under threat from the industry. Recently the BBC’s Director General, Tim Davie, has called for the BBC to move to an online-only delivery model, ceasing its broadcast TV operations at some point in the future.

That’s why the Broadcast 2040+ campaign was formed to bring together a coalition of voices including the Children’s Media Foundation - to make the positive case for broadcast services. Through the campaign, we are asking the Government to ensure a commitment to broadcast underpins future media policy so that these vital services are available across the UK for decades to come.

In addition to our work to raise awareness within Government, one of our coalition partners Silver Voices (an over-60s campaign group) has launched a petition calling on the Government to guarantee access to broadcast TV (Freeview) and radio beyond 2040.

The petition has received support from viewers and listeners across all four nations of the United Kingdom and almost every Parliamentary constituency. Having reached 10,000 signatures, the Government formally responded, which you can read here.

We’re now pushing for 100,000 signatures so that it is considered for a debate in Parliament. For more information, and to add your signature, please visit the UK Parliament Petitions website.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)