BBC chief Tony Hall to step down amid mounting challenges

International

FILE – In this Thursday, March 28, 2013 file photo, BBC journalists and technical staff on strike form a picket line outside BBC’s New Broadcasting House in central London. BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 that he will step down from the helm of the U.K. broadcaster in six months after seven years in the job. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)

LONDON (AP) — BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced Monday that he will step down from the helm of the U.K. broadcaster in six months after seven years in the job.

Hall said he was quitting so that a new leader can oversee a mid-term review of the BBC’s funding in 2022, and a renewal of its governing charter, due in 2027.

The announcement comes as the publicly funded BBC is facing intense political and public pressure amid a fast-changing media landscape and viewing habits. It has been criticized by both sides of the Brexit debate over its coverage of the U.K.’s impending departure from the European Union, and some in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government have suggested changing the BBC’s funding model.

The broadcaster currently is funded largely through a 154 pound a year ($200 a year) fee paid by every household with a television. It is not state-controlled, though the government sets the terms of the broadcaster’s charter, renewed once a decade.

In a warning to the organization’s critics, Hall said that “in an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth.

“What the BBC is, and what it stands for, is precious for this country,” Hall said. “We ignore that at our peril.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.