BBC reform: potential victims of crisis – taz.de

BBC reform: potential victims of crisis - taz.de

Public service BBC will no longer be financed by fees. A diversionary maneuver?

Criticism for parties: Johnson jogging on Monday morning Photo: Hannah McKay / Reuters

Could December 27, 2027 mean the end of the BBC? This date should at least mark the end of government subsidies for the company, according to announcements made by British media minister Nadine Dorries over the weekend. The broadcaster is currently financed from television tax (TV license fee) with an income equivalent to 4.5 billion euros per year, covering three quarters of the current cost. For a private family, the fee is currently equal to 190 euros per year.

The two-year moratorium on license fees against the current inflation rate of 5.1 percent and the end of state support beyond 2027 were announced over the weekend, when everyone was talking about parties at 10 Downing Street. It was certainly a tactical and political move.

The BBC’s ‘Partygate’ coverage has been described by some conservative observers such as MP Andrew Bridghan as unbalanced and anti-Tory.

It is an allegation that has been leveled at the broadcaster for some time, most recently when former music show presenter Muriel Gray joined the BBC’s board of directors in Scotland in December. She once said of herself that she never voted conservative. He had repeatedly criticized Johnson’s policies on Twitter. The fact that the BBC was punished as being too right-wing during the Brexit and Corbyn years seems to have been forgotten by many. When Tim Davey became the BBC’s director in 2020, he said that the channel’s fairness was his main concern.

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high salary

But there is much more to Dorri’s works than just momentary political tactics. The license fee, which has to be paid only for television in the UK, has criminal protection. In 2017, 74 percent of 100,000 criminal convictions were women. One-third of all convictions against women are attributable to an unpaid TV license fee. Pensioners are also often criminalized, a point Doris addresses.

There are also questions about BBC funding. For example, after much uproar about excessive wages, radio presenter Zoe Balls’ pay was reduced by 27 percent. Now she “only” earns the equivalent of 1.17 million euros. Former football star Gary Lineker now earns the equivalent of 1.62 million euros for moderation on BBC 2, down from 478,000 euros. That’s still a lot of money from the tax treasury. Will the name of an otherwise popular ex-kicker be met with much sympathy as a voice against Doris’ measures?

Doris also denounces the lack of diversity. She describes herself as having grown up on the roughest streets of Liverpool. Dorris criticized what he felt was inadequate recruitment from Britain’s working classes and people with regional dialects. She sees it as part of the Johnson government’s recovery program for the poor north of England. In the BBC, more than five times the national average have received private education, which is seven percent. BBC, on the other hand, was named the 21st best social mobility company in the country in 2020 by the Social Mobility Foundation. The channel was the only British media company to make the list in the last four years.

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Doris has also long addressed the churning trend toward customer services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The current crisis situation, in which the state has become heavily indebted due to the pandemic and in which citizens are facing inflation, rising energy costs and additional taxes for the health and social welfare system, makes the BBC an easy prey.

On Monday, the government was a bit soft. Education Minister Nadim Zhawi said that future support for the BBC was still under discussion. Labour’s shadow secretary for media Lucy Powell called the weekend’s announcements an attack on the BBC for not liking its journalism for the Johnson government.

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