After a protracted legal process, The Better Public Media Trust is pleased that the Court of Appeal has ruled in its favour and affirmed that BPM merits recognition as a registered charity.
The judges acknowledged that BPM’s advocacy for public media was not a disqualification to charitable status. On the contrary, BPM’s activities were held to be beneficial to the community.
“The Trust achieves its purposes through a range of activities including the conducting of independent research, the commissioning of public lectures, providing expert commentary and promoting the concept of public media in secondary schools through an annual competition,” Collins J wrote.
Noting that the BPM Trust “undertakes its advocacy function in a balanced and measured manner,” the judgment went on to say:
“The Trust aims to ensure that our democratic principles and institutions are enhanced through citizens being better informed about significant issues through public media platforms. Importantly, the Trust also aims to enhance social cohesion by promoting the voices of minority communities through public media.”
After receiving the news, BPM Chair, Dr Peter Thompson said:
“It is gratifying that the Appeal Court has recognised that Better Public Media’s work can be considered charitable. Perhaps more importantly though, the judgment provides legal affirmation that public media services more broadly are beneficial to the community. In a media environment where the domination of digital platforms over audience data, content discovery and online advertising has intensified commercial pressures, far from being an anachronism, the need for public media is greater than ever before.”
The trustees of BPM would like to express their deep gratitude to LeeSalmonLong, which provided pro bono legal support, and especially to Daniel Nilsson and Sam Humphrey whose legal expertise and incredibly generous commitment of time throughout the process was invaluable in securing the outcome.
BPM’s appeals were also supported by statements from a number of international experts on public media. We would therefore also like to express our appreciation to:
- Dr Andrew Graham, Oxford Internet Institute
- Prof. (Emeritus) Graham Murdock, University of Loughborough
- Prof. Hilde van Den Bulck, Drexel University
- Prof. Des Freedman, Goldsmiths University of London
- Prof. Karen Arriaza Ibarra, Complutense University of Madrid
- Prof. Manuel Puppis, University of Fribourg
- Sally-Ann Wilson, Former CEO, Public Media Alliance
- Prof. Robert Picard, Reuters Institute, University of Oxford
- Prof. Maria Michalis, University of Westminster
- Dr Alessandro D’Arma, University of Westminster
Finally, Better Public Media would like to thank to all its members and trustees, past and present for their support. This outcome is a win on their behalf. We hope they will continue to support our advocacy for public media now that BPM’s charitable status has been confirmed at long last.