In a move likely to annoy commercial broadcasters, forthcoming communications watchdog Ofcom has shied away from demanding powers to regulate the state-owned BBC.

In a blueprint for Ofcom presented to ministers by the five regulators who will merge to form it – the Independent Television Commission, Radio Authority, Broadcasting Standards Commission, Radiocommunications Agency and Oftel – no mention is made of the BBC.

The regulator, slated for launch in just over a year, wants protection of consumer interests at the heart of its remit, and has reportedly called for considerable powers over maintaining broadcast standards as well as encouraging competition.

BBC governors argue they should watch over the broadcaster’s impartiality and independence. However, this relationship is expected to receive further scrutiny as Ofcom’s launch approaches.

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