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Tuesday 28 January 2003

Hands off the BBC! [lurks]

We've all had a bit of a moan at the BBC in recent times. It's a dinosaur that increasingly combines the worst of the public sector (horrible inefficiency) with the worst of commercial (dumbing down, ratings driven) broadcasting. Yet for all that, in recent times they've embraced digital television and the Internet and started to bring us services which we do use.

Yet apparently there's a tosspot Labour MP up in leafy lane the sticks which is advocating that the BBC scrap all digital activity. This bloke actually sits on the media select committee, here's a class quote;

'It is outrageous how much the BBC spends, unchecked by its pathetic board of governors, on its internet sites'

Presumably it spends more than the taxpayers does on his site and that can't possible be fair eh Derek?

I don't know what model this imbecile thinks that Britain should follow but clearly he places no value on having a whole range of minority content services in the media supported by the State. He obviously places no value on high quality content at all or at least believes that somehow commercial operators are suddenly going to start broadcasting unbiased news, minority and educational programming and other world-class content on their own account.

I think the BBC definitely needs a clean up. I think it probably ought to be broken up to some degree and budgets more tightly reigned. It think it could benefit from some private sector work ethic but similarly I think that it needs to realise it's not a strictly commercial operator and has certain obligations to uphold. I'm particularly annoyed at the yearly axing of science output in favor of me-too reality TV shite like Fame Academy.

However digital channels and Internet content should be the thrust of the state's subsidy for the benefit of the nation! Let's not let ignorant technophobe labour zombies ruin one of the greatest assets of the country eh?


  1. Its a good point wasted here - got email the Times or Guardian letters page where it will be read!

  2. So what are you saying, is that why I have to drag people kicking and screaming to write insightful blogs on our web site - because no one reads it? Actually I have faith that they'll be some corker responses in the Guardian as it is.

  3. While I agree that having quality content from the BBC on the internet is a good thing, this should be raised from a higher tax for internet services, or an internet license.

    To expect people watching television to pay for internet based services is just wrong - I've always believe this is the case with radio too.

    Rather, I do believe the BBC does a great service at bringing unbiased content through in areas like news and current affairs, I feel if it is offering information services via so many mediums, then the money should be taken from all citizens rather than a subset.

    Finally, I do think there should be some edict that demands that a certain maximum percentage of funds in any given medium is spent on 'popular entertainment' like big brother and reality-TV style shows at present. Popular fads are (naturally) very well catered for by commercial interests, so there is no reason to feature such crap on a service which exists merely because of the limitations of commercial services.


  4. I feel if it is offering information services via so many mediums, then the money should be taken from all citizens rather than a subset.

    Well, it is. Pretty much everyone pays the TV license. However I actually agree that the TV license itself is a bit out of date, better to scrap it and kick in a government subsidy for the BBC paid for by slightly hiked taxes. This would also save £100 million a year in collection costs.

    However the reason we have a TV license is because of historical reasons. The BBC would be a state-run broadcaster but it was thought that independant funding would guarantee the content being free of influence by the government of the day. Without such a system, other countries would view the BBC's world correspondance (for which it is famous) as a voice of the British government.

    I also take your point that the BBC should not necessarily be kicking out popular entertainment with it's mandate. However, I have a hard time complaining about that and therefore begruding people some value for money off the BBC content. There *is* some mighty fine entertainment drama on the BBC. Spooks and more recently Trust, spring to mind.

    Getting back to your point that TV watchers shouldn't pay for Internet stuff. Well that's kind of irrelevant. It's not *really* a tax levelled at just TV watchers for watching TV, the BBC has been paying for it's radio content out of the 'TV license' all along too. Really, it's just a seperate earmarked tax collected independantly. This is a little silly really. I say scrap the license fee. Subsidize the BBC from taxation on a strict mandate of content which we need (minority, science, education etc) and then let their commercial arms operate on a commercial basis - IE split them away from the taxpayers bit.

    I don't think it reasonable that the BBC should increasingly dumb down to hit the lowest and therefore most popular common denomenator. That's not why they have a unique ability to force everyone to pay for them. Yet this what's happening under Greg Dyke.

    Changes needed yes but I do think there's room to have the high quality state subsidized content on Internet and digital channels. Ridiculous not to.

  5. Afty. Your TV licence includes the radio licence fee. If you don't use a telly but have a tranny then you should pay the radio fee.