Friday, 24 Jan 2020

BBC PANIC: BBC boss scrambles to defend licence fee amid Boris Johnson subscription threat

Lord Tony Hall has spoken out about how Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised questions on the future of the broadcaster since a recent slump in BBC ratings. Lord Hall told the Financial Times the BBC’s success lies in it “being paid for and owned by the British public”. He added he was desperate for the BBC to expand outside of the so-called London Bubble to continue “doing even more for communities”.

Lord Hall said: “The universality of the licence fee guarantees our commitment to creativity and risk-taking. Because we are funded by everyone, we must offer something outstanding for everyone.

“Far from growing less relevant in a digital age, this unique relationship with audiences has never been more necessary. How better to hardwire creative ambition into what we do in today’s media landscape?

“It ensures independence for the national broadcaster; it obliges us to serve everyone; it secures our responsibility to reflect every part of the UK.”

Lord Hall’s words come after Mr Johnson asked: “How long can you justify a system whereby everybody who has a TV has to pay to fund a particular set of TV and radio channels?”

The matter was raised during his booming general election campaign that saw the Prime Minister scoop a massive majority of 80 in the Commons, shrinking Labour’s MPs to just 203.

Jeremy Corbyn suffered the worst defeat since before the start of the Second World War as a result and will step down in April.

It comes amid bias claims made by the general public and BBC staff – past and present.

Broadcaster Trevor Phillips, who has worked with the BBC many times, last month became the most recent name to attack the Corporation on the claims, stating the broadcaster has a “morbid obsession” with the Prime Minister’s private life.

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In a shocking intervention, he also told the BBC they risked “digging its own grave” while condemning the “pillorying” of Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty hit out at US President Donald Trump.

Mr Phillips told The Times: “From the constant sly digs in its comedies, to its relentless fascination with minor players in the Conservative soap opera, it breathes Toryscepticism.

“Its drama adopts the opposition’s catastrophist agenda, painting Britain’s leaders as incompetent fools manipulated by malevolent, conspiratorial geniuses.

“And its morbid obsession with the prime minister’s private life and his past writings, despite the fact that neither has the remotest bearing on the nation’s future, invite the eye of Sauron to look out from Downing Street each day in search of enemies in New Broadcasting House.”

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Mr Phillips, 65, was chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission for 2003 to 2006 and took aim at the BBC’s “woke behaviour”.

He added the BBC was in “danger” of being overtaken by Netflix.

Other names such as John Humphrys and Robert Peston have also taken aim over an impartiality imbalance at the BBC.

It can cost up to £1,000 and a criminal conviction for not paying the BBC licence fee.

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