Would the Tories close the BBC website?
Mediaguardian reported on Tuesday that "Tories would close BBC website", quoting culture spokesman John Whittingdale. According to this article - Tory questions BBC digital role - from the BBC itself, he seems to feel perhaps the emphasis of that headline was wrong when you look at what he actually said:
In response to earlier reports, Mr Whittingdale insisted he was "not saying the BBC website should be closed down, but needs to be examined against criteria in exactly the same way as every other part of the BBC" [BBC News - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3186071.stm]
And returning to the original Guardian article the quotes attributed to Whittingdale are actually:
"I am not persuaded that there is necessarily a case for a public service website. I'm not persuaded that anything on the BBC site could not be provided elsewhere" [MediaGuardian - http://media.guardian.co.uk/newmedia/story/0,7496,1029616,00.htm]
Which isn't quite the same as suggesting it would be shut down without question.
But rather like Tom Coates, I don't feel I can really comment on this myself, but a lot of people have been doing the commenting for me on Plasticbag and Metafilter, saying some heart-warming things, and also some intelligently critical ones, about the BBC's web output.
I suspect that we will see a lot more of this kind of story floating around whilst the DCMS Review of the BBC's online services is being carried out.
The government is currently accepting emails about the BBC Online services, and you can mail the DCMS at firstname.lastname@example.org. November 17th is the closing date for email. they have also made available the BBC's Online review report, but unfortunately only in the full 4.9mb version. The BBC Information site has links through to some smaller text only versions of the BBC submission which are a bit more user-friendly on the old 56k modem.