CHARLES ALLEN, ITV's chief executive, wants the BBC to be brought under the regulation of Ofcom in the wake of the Hutton inquiry.
Mr Allen, who was speaking about the crisis at the BBC as his company made a confident debut on the stock market yesterday, said: "It's sad to see what has happened to the corporation in the last few weeks."
Sources close to Mr Allen say he would like to see the BBC brought under the same regulatory regime as its major commercial UK competitors, such as ITV and BSkyB.
Mr Allen said the BBC's current predicament could never arise at ITV, where Ofcom, the media regulator, would examine the kind of complaints that led to the Hutton inquiry. The BBC is regulated by its governors, which backed the corporation's journalism in the face of fierce criticism from the Government.
Mr Allen, speaking in a radio interview, said: "The difference with ITV is that we are never asked to be judge and jury. We're never asked to make those tough decisions at the top of the organisation because we have an external regulator."
Shares in the new ITV plc - formed by the merger of Carlton and Granada - traded for the first time yesterday. The stock opened at 141p and closed up 7p at 148p, valuing the company at pounds 6.0m. A flurry of broadly positive research notes were put out by City analysts, with Merrill Lynch suggesting the shares could reach 235p under its "blue sky scenario". The enlarged business, which contains 12 of the 16 ITV region licences, is also seen as a bid target. …