The Digital Culture, Media and Sport Committee has called for assurances from Ofcom and the BBC on the fairness of appointment proceedings for the next board chairs at the BBC.
Chaired by Julian Knight MP, the cross-party group of MPs are now asking for assurances following speculation the government’s preferred candidates were Charles Moore, former Daily Telegraph editor, and Paul Dacre, former Daily Mail editor.
It comes as both men have reportedly “shown hostility” to the organisation in the past.
The committee in question is backed by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in calling for a fair procedure.
Knight said: ‘‘Those appointed to head up the BBC and the broadcasting regulator Ofcom will play a critical role in a fast-changing media landscape.
‘‘Transparency must be at the heart of the process and this committee is determined to ensure that is what we will get. We cannot have a fair process undermined by politicking.’’
He added: ‘‘Cabinet ministers must not indulge in public speculation or private briefing about potential appointments to either of these posts if the integrity of the appointments process is to be maintained.
‘‘To increase scrutiny, we’re asking for statutory veto over the appointment and dismissal of the next chair of Ofcom, a power that has been called for repeatedly and has precedent elsewhere.’’
Paul Siegert, NUJ’s national broadcasting organiser, said: ‘‘It shouldn’t even be a matter of debate whether the chairs of the BBC Board and Ofcom are chosen through a fair and transparent process.
‘‘These are two of the most important roles in the media industry and we can’t have people just given the roles because they happen to be friends with the Prime Minister.”
He added: ‘‘There are plenty of more suitable candidates who would do much better jobs than the current names being mentioned. Any recruitment process needs to make sure it attracts and appoints the very best candidates into the two roles.’’