Why should we care about the BBC?
The BBC has faced a barrage of criticism in recent weeks, after the corporation was criticised for a decision to cancel a debate about the Brexit vote.
It’s been criticised for not having enough women on its advisory panel, which was previously chaired by the former PM, Margaret Thatcher.
The decision was met with outrage by the Conservative Party, which claimed the panel was not representative of a diverse range of viewpoints.
The corporation is also facing criticism for not doing enough to counter the growing tide of fake news and misinformation.
It also faced a backlash for the decision to allow a “puppet” to moderate the BBC’s online video service.
It recently announced it would be changing the way it chooses its online news channels to improve the accuracy of their content.
However, there is one thing that the corporation has consistently excelled at over the years: keeping the public engaged with its journalism.
It is this that the public can trust.
It is this reason why I am so concerned about the future of the BBC as we enter 2017.
BBC’s editorial independence has been a key pillar of its reputation since the BBC was founded in 1948.
This is something that the BBC needs to protect at all costs.
This is the BBC we love and trust.
BBC journalists must not be given the freedom to take part in partisan debates, and they should not be able to participate in partisan political debates that they have been warned are damaging to their reputation.
I hope the BBC can understand that it is the public that must be safeguarded from this dangerous new reality.
This means ensuring that the voices of the voiceless are represented on the BBC.
In 2016, the BBC also announced that it would change the way that it selects the lead presenter for its flagship news programme, the World Service, in the same way that the World Cup was changed.
This would have a dramatic impact on the quality of its coverage.
Instead of a one-off event, it will be a continuous programme that spans several years.
The programme would also have a greater emphasis on current affairs.
This change is already causing consternation amongst the public, as many believe that the news programme should be less politicised.
The BBC should also be transparent about the criteria it uses to select its lead presenter, as well as the role played by women in the programme.
These changes are in stark contrast to the current political climate, which is rife with the appearance of fake, partisan news, which threatens the credibility of the news network and undermines the BBC News channel.
As we head into 2017, the need for a BBC with an independent voice is imperative.
It means a more diverse and diverse workforce, one that is well informed, engaged and committed to the BBC Trust.
BBC is a broadcaster of the people, not the elite.
This has always been the BBC, and it is an institution that is proud to stand alongside and support the public.
It will be the BBC that speaks for the people of England and Wales.
Paul Kennedy, BBC director of news, has been at the helm of the corporation since 2010.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @BBCPaulKennedy