Britain today announced a major overhaul of public service broadcaster BBC to keep it "at the very heart of British life" amid fears that the government was threatening the independence of the 94-year-old institution.
The changes unveiled in a new white paper presented in the House of Commons by UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale include plans to trial a subscription-base model over the years as well as have more differentiated programming aimed at specific audiences, including ethnic minorities.
The minister told MPs that the government is "emphatically not saying the British Broadcasting Corporation should not be popular" but would introduce a new requirement to provide "distinctive content" rather than just pursue ratings.
"The BBC is and must always remain at the very heart of British life. We want the BBC to thrive, to make fantastic programmes for audiences and to act as an engine for growth and creativity," said Whittingdale.
"Our reforms give the BBC much greater independence from government in editorial matters, in its governance, in setting budgets and through a longer charter period.
"These reforms will assist the BBC to fulfil its own stated desire to become more distinctive."
"The BBC will operate in a more robust and more clearly defined governance and regulatory framework and it will be more transparent and accountable to the public it serves, who rely on the BBC to be the very best it can possibly be, so it can inform, educate and entertain for many years to come," he said.