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BBC quotas on arts and religion programming to be cut?

Control of the BBC's minimum targets for programming in areas such as arts and religion could reportedly be handed over to the corporation itself.

The BBC could reportedly be allowed to set its own quotas in areas of programming such as religion, arts and documentaries following a new Ofcom review.

At present the corporation must meet certain annual targets in 148 different categories of shows, including at least 115 hours of religious programming a year on BBC One and Two, 175 hours of arts and music content on BBC Two and 375 hours of original documentary programming on Radio 4.

According to The Times, however, TV regulator Ofcom is considering allowing the BBC to set its own targets in all areas in order to give it greater flexibility in a challenging financial climate.

"We have made it clear that the operating licence has to evolve to reflect changes in technology and distribution, audience habits and the financial realities of the BBC," said Ofcom's Kevin Bakhurst, adding that the regulator would still "step in" if it thought that the BBC was underserving a particular audience or genre.

The proposals are still being drawn up and will go to a consultation before a final decision is taken.

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