The UK government should reject the British Broadcasting Corporation’s plans for the BBC3 digital youth channel, argues Conservative Party shadow media secretary Tim Yeo.

Yeo has written to his governmental counterpart, media secretary Tessa Jowell, demanding that the channel does not get the go-ahead “merely because 25 to 34-year-olds have deserted the BBC in favour of other, or no, television [channels].”

A ministerial thumbs-up, says Yeo, should be forthcoming only “if it provides programming significantly different from that currently available to digital television viewers.”

On this last point Yeo is preaching to the converted. Jowell threw out initial plans for the channel in September for not being “truly distinctive in an already crowded market,” with Whitehall insiders branding them “vague”, “poorly presented” and “badly thought out” [WAMN: 14-Sep-01].

The BBC submitted revised proposals at the end of last year, but Yeo warned it was still not clear whether these offered anything significantly different to the content of commercial rivals.

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