Andy Burnham speaks out on news standards

Opposes 'Americanization' of British TV news

LONDON -- Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has hit out at what he terms "the Americanization of British television news."

Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch, Burnham said that British news is famous around the world for its impartiality of news coverage and ruled out the possibility of Fox News-style reporting or editorialized news on British airwaves.

"I would oppose a move to the so-called Americanization of television news," he said, after being asked whether impartiality rules should be lifted on non-public-service news outlets.

"This whittling away of standards and quality is really dangerous in my view," he said. "Once you change you can never go back. Viewers like, trust and respect impartial news, to change that would be a very backward step."

Burnham reiterated his opposition to product placement on television, saying that broadcasters should look to reconnect with audiences through the provision of better regional news services instead. He also hinted that the government would take tough steps to police Internet content.

"It's a mistake to think that it is all inevitable. I believe we can work a standards code with major players," Burnham said.