Sunday 5 July 2009

Does the BBC hate itself?

It seems to have a death wish.

I've always thought the BBC was one of the UK's greatest assets. Every radio I have is tuned to Radio 4. The BBC website is a gateway to the world. The World Service provides a window for the world. The Archers is the longest running saga on any media outlet in the world. Many TV programmes inform and entertain.

Yes, it's full of pinkos who want to destroy the fabric of our society...but I'm sure only in a good way. And no more than most media outlets. So I've always been concerned about the political parties that want to take money away from the licence fee by cutting, sharing or eliminating it. The Tories haven't explicitly stated they will do this, but they have certainly implied it.

Yet so often the BBC tries to show it doesn't deserve support. For example:

- Why buy Lonely Planet guide books, creating a conflict of interest and starting to compete in a different sector?

- Why pay so much more for talent than anyone else would? I think of course of Jonathan Ross. But there will be others? But not properly fund journalism?

- Why pay so much to a whole raft of managers - far more than the commercial sector, although the brand means people would do the job for much less?

- Why let a Government spokesman on business host a business programme between now and the next election?

- Why send over 400 people to Glastonbury (after sending more people to the Olympics than the UK sent athletes)?

I've changed my mind. I still think there should be a licence fee. But it should be much less and it should pay for the website, a couple of radio channels, the World service and the journalism that supports the news and perhaps a couple of TV channels. I suspect that's about half the amount, but it would pay for things that the commercial sector cannot provide. It should not duplicate what it can now it has proven it cannot be trusted.

Since writing this, I have read this later post by Iain Dale which emphasises the point.

1 comment:

Troy said...

As they say in Parliament "Hear, hear".