BBC licence fee ‘poll tax’ must end – Yorkshire Post Letters
IT was interesting to read two contrasting articles about the BBC (The Yorkshire Post, December 6).
Tory peer Peter Lilley criticised the broadcaster for its lack of balance when covering important political issues.
Melvyn Bragg, on the other hand, who has had a long association with the BBC as a presenter, was staunch in the BBC’s defence.
I have to declare an interest, in that I am an avid listener to Lord Bragg’s Radio 4 series In Our Time, which is broadcast on Thursday mornings. That programme is invariably educative, informative and entertaining about important subjects.
But I was disappointed to see that he now apparently believes that there are no valid criticisms of the BBC’s varied output.
He made no reference to the problems that Peter Lilley refers to, which have seen the BBC gradually alienate significant parts of its audience. And there have been notable reductions in the quality of its comedy and drama output, for example, while it loses out to other broadcasters on many major sporting events.
The BBC surely can’t continue to be funded by the TV licence fee, which is a form of poll tax that fewer and fewer people are likely to pay as the years go by.
Instead, the BBC needs to find new ways of funding itself, including subscription channels as well as generating income from its website, which is currently free to access but which, strictly speaking, shouldn’t be funded by the TV licence fee.
For example, a sports subscription channel would allow the BBC to compete with Sky and BT Sport, while an arts and drama channel would do likewise and give the BBC new opportunities for producing first-rate programmes.
Let’s stop seeing the move away from the licence fee as a threat and instead see it as an opportunity for the BBC.
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