March 16, 2007 6:28 AM PDT

BBC to suspend its education Web site

The BBC will suspend its $289 million children's education Web site, BBC Jam, following complaints made to the European Commission that the site unfairly effects the commercial market for such content.

The site, which provides free educational content for children in the 5-to-16 age group, will no longer be available after March 20, the BBC announced following discussions among the the U.K. government, the EC and the BBC Trust, the independent governing body that in January replaced the BBC's Board of Governors.

The BBC Trust is charged with enforcing the BBC's public-service mandates, which include promoting education for school-age children.

The EC has received a number of complaints alleging that the publicly funded BBC Jam, which has about 170,000 registered users and is operated by about 200 BBC employees, damages the interests of the commercial sector.

"Whilst we are not currently in a position to determine whether the BBC is noncompliant, as alleged by the industry to the EC, we cannot ignore the allegations facing the BBC right now," the BBC's acting chairman, Chitra Bharucha, said in a statement.

"To take no action wasn't an option," added a representative for the BBC Trust.

The BBC Trust has decided to suspend the service and asked management to prepare fresh proposals on how the corporation can promote formal education and draw on the successes of BBC Jam.

The proposals will undergo a BBC Trust Public Value Test--the BBC's mechanism for weighing the value of proposed programming and its possible market impact--as well as a market-impact assessment from a U.K. regulatory body, the Office of Communications.

Tim Ferguson of Silicon.com reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
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12 comments

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Children First.
Maybe it is just my view as a parent... but, I would think that the education of your children would be more important than comercial gain!

Free educational content = good thing... always.
Posted by arluthier (112 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Couldn't agree more
What is this world coming to? With corporations' interests trumping
all, slaves to the INC we all shall be. BBC should not cave to such
pressure. Wake up!
Posted by discern (75 comments )
Link Flag
Hear, Hear!
This is lunacy - pandering to commercial interests over any sort of children's education. Incredibly myopic thinking.
Posted by markcwalton (3 comments )
Link Flag
Hear, Hear!
This is lunacy - pandering to commercial interests over any sort of children's education. Incredibly myopic thinking.
Posted by markcwalton (3 comments )
Link Flag
No offense
But, I am so glad I do not live in Europe.

Why actually work hard to compete, when you can whine to the government. It is so effective that even American companies are using European venues to take down their competitors. Worked on Microsoft, trying to work on Apple, and now the BBC for providing a quality educational service to the public, for free.

Sad, really sad.
Posted by adlyb1 (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Simply stupid
This sounds more like something that would come out of a capitalist nightmare country like America, not a more rational place like Europe.

The BBC should be applauded for providing free educational material to all who need it, not censured for doing so.

Whatever happened to free and universal education?
Posted by perfectblue97 (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually...
The US funds a whole system (TV, radio, web) devoted to free access to educational materials.

Also, American broadcasters are required to provide free educational content to keep their license. Granted, it's a paltry amount, but they are required to do it.

The BBC should license the material to PBS and then let people howl.
Posted by adlyb1 (123 comments )
Link Flag
What kind of spineless cur
is the BBC chairman. Educating the public is part of their mandate. Heck all those Radio and Television licences fees ought to insure, if nothing else does, that the BBC serves the viewers interests first and foremost.
Posted by PzkwVIb (462 comments )
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bbc
yep-its another utterly disgraceful action in an evergrowing line-the government here only employ spineless anodyne wimps who do rollovers as fast as big companies tell them--be warned--there is a lot more of this due from blairs bloodless line of whimpering zombies--check out HD tv broadcast plans and cringe
Posted by artboy16547 (1 comment )
Link Flag
You're kidding...
Incredible....

A website, designed by such a highly credible organization, out
of business because it interferes with commercial interests?

How about the interests of the children who's families can't
afford what those commercial interests have to offer?

I guess they don't count.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lousy timing
Just as MIT plans to make all of it's courses available for free on the internet.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070310/wr_nm/mit_online_dc" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070310/wr_nm/mit_online_dc</a>
I wonder how that will go down with the internet colleges selling an inferior education? (screw 'em!)
Posted by Underlord1955 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bone heads - Keep it up and do the study
You don't suspend something like this unless you don't want it.
Posted by t3b3r8 (8 comments )
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