BBC Trust favours tighter controls for its website

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London,May 30 : The the BBC Trust has said that there should be tighter controls on the management of the BBC's website to prevent it stifling commercial rivals, .

After reviewing bbc.co.uk, the trust said it was "an excellent service" but that its content had to be different from that on rival websites. It also criticised the site's management for a 3.5 million pound overspend last year.

The report is the first of a number of reviews of the BBC's services as part of its new charter and agreement.

The trust, an independent body which works on behalf of licence payers, has taken responsibility for such reviews from the culture secretary to establish greater independence for the BBC from the government.

In its report, the trust said the BBC website delivered great public value to the "vast numbers who use it [and] love it".

It said the site had 16.5 million users each month and continued to grow despite competition.

Presenting the reports findings, review leader Dame Patricia Hodgson said: "This is a very reassuring set of findings about the quality of the service, the value that it gives to audiences and what they think about it."

She added that there would be three new safeguards to protect competitors:

Each part of the website to have its own aims and budget

Each part of the website to be tested against seven criteria to find out if it is distinctive enough

Any major new development in bbc.co.uk that could impact on other sites - including local news sites - to be reviewed with a "public value test"

The trust has told BBC management there must also be tighter controls on the financial side.

ANI

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