Coronation: broadcasters 'deeply concerned' about BBC restricting footage of ceremony

"We are deeply concerned by the BBC’s behaviour in restricting UK media companies access to pool footage of the Coronation of the King."

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Broadcasters have said they are “deeply concerned” by what they call a “restricting” of access to pool footage of the coronation by the BBC.

National World PLC's executive chairman David Montgomery joined GB News, TalkTV and industry body News Media Association in criticising the Beeb. It comes less than 24 hours before the crowning of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey on Saturday (6 May).

In a statement, the broadcasters said: "We are deeply concerned by the BBC’s behaviour in restricting UK media companies access to pool footage of the Coronation of the King, and therefore denying UK citizens the opportunity to enjoy this event of major public interest and national importance on the platform of their choice. Given the historic significance of the occasion, all efforts should have been made by the BBC to ensure that the footage - which is created using licence fee payer money - is distributed as widely as possible to allow UK citizens to witness this event, and the BBC has not fulfilled this obligation.

On Saturday May 7, King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be Coronated. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)On Saturday May 7, King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be Coronated. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
On Saturday May 7, King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be Coronated. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

"The decision to charge UK media companies an excessive commercial fee (with no visibility of true costs) seems perverse when the BBC is allowing foreign publishers and broadcasters the same footage for free. These foreign broadcasters and publishers will be allowed to stream or broadcast footage in the UK despite restrictions on UK media.

"The BBC (together with Sky and ITN) has repeatedly delayed and prevaricated on this issue since the death of Queen Elizabeth in September last year in an anti-competitive manner.

"The BBC must urgently reconsider their position and allow all members of the British public who want to watch the Coronation the choice to access the event where they wish to do so."

David Montgomery, who is also chairman of LocalTV, added: "Any idea that the BBC supports freedom of expression or freedom of the press is negated by the abuse of its monopoly. It is our readers and viewers who pay the licence fee to watch all live TV, not just the BBC. Now that publishers and other broadcasters have the ability to live stream a national occasion, also funded by the taxpayer, the BBC shows its true colours, squeezing out commercial competitors."

BBC will air the coronation across BBC1, BBC2 and BBC News. ITV and Sky News will be broadcasting the coronation live and uninterrupted from Saturday morning through to 3pm, following the planned flypast and appearance of the Royal family on Buckingham Palace's balcony.