London: Dr Sameer Shah, an Indian-origin media veteran with over 40 years of experience in TV production and journalism, has been recommended by the UK Government as the preferred candidate for the post of new Chairman of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He is expected to replace Richard Sharp, who had to resign after his conversation with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was leaked and an inquiry was set up into the matter.
Before formally appointing Shah, the House of Commons Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee, a cross-party group of MPs, will interact with him and ask necessary questions. Britain’s Culture Minister Lucy Fraser, while confirming the selection under the appointment process, said on Wednesday, “Dr Shah, who has more than 40 years of experience in TV production and journalism, is adequately qualified for the post of BBC Chairman.”
She said, “His (Shah’s) ambition to make the BBC successful in a rapidly changing media landscape is very clear and there is no doubt that he will give his best contribution to the BBC to overcome its future challenges.”
Shah said, “There is no doubt that the BBC is one of our most important contributions to global culture.”
He said, “It would be an honor for me if I can, with my skills, experience, and understanding of public service broadcasting, prepare this organization for the diverse challenges ahead.”
Born in Aurangabad, Shah came to England in 1960 and before that worked at the BBC as head of current affairs and political programs. A BBC spokesperson said: “We welcome the announcement that Samir Shah has been selected as the Government’s preferred candidate to take up the role of BBC President and look forward to his joining the Board once the formal process has been completed.”
Shah’s selection is being seen as a big change, because now there will be a journalist at the top of BBC. The BBC is an independent institution, but its chairman is appointed by the government.
His appointment is considered important at a time when the BBC is going through a financial crisis. The BBC aims to save £500 million amid rising inflation and a two-year freeze on TV license costs.
Along with this, Sameer Shah will also be entrusted with the task of negotiating with the government regarding the license fee.