Britain To Scrap Licence Fee Model Of Funding BBC By 2027 In A Move Seen As A Setback To Public Broadcaster That Has Faced Accusations Of Left-wing Bias

by Swarajya Staff - Jan 17, 2022 02:40 PM +05:30 IST
Britain To Scrap Licence Fee Model Of Funding BBC By 2027 In A Move Seen As A Setback To Public Broadcaster That Has Faced Accusations Of Left-wing BiasDefund The BBC Campaign
Snapshot
  • Britain’s culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, on Sunday (Jan 16) announced the model of funding BBC through licence fees will be abolished by 2027 and asked the country's public broadcaster to find new ways to fund its content.

    The announcement casts a long shadow on the long-term financial viability and editorial independence of the once hallowed public broadcaster

Britain’s culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, on Sunday (Jan 16) announced the model of funding BBC through licence fees will be abolished by 2027 and asked the country's public broadcaster to find new ways to fund its content.

The announcement casts a long shadow on the long-term financial viability and editorial independence of the once hallowed public broadcaster that runs eight national television channels, more than 50 radio stations, a website that attracts over 1.5 billion monthly page views, several apps, and a World Service that broadcasts in 43 languages reaching 279 million people a week.

Most Britons are required to pay an annual licence to watch live television and access iPlayer services of the broadcaster.

While the annual current licence fees will remain unchanged at £159($204) until 2024 and will undergo an upward revision for the following three years, the funding regime via licence fees will be scrapped by 2027.

The culture secretary said: “This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over. Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

Though no clarity currently exists on how BBC will be funded beyond 2027, the likely options include subscription service, part-privatisation, or direct government funding.

While the public broadcast pioneered the streaming service in UK when it launched iPlayer in 2007, it has since lost out to U.S player Netflix. Thanks to huge attrition of younger audiences, iPlayer, which once enjoyed a 40 percent share of the UK streaming video market, now holds just 15 percent share.

The broadcaster, facing increased financial pressures, has recently carried out a large voluntary redundancy programme.

Accusation of pro-left-wing, Islamist bias

PM Boris Johnson and his section of his Conservative party have been at loggerheads with BBC, often accusing it of ideological bias and lack of impartiality.

As part of its effort to rein in the broadcaster, the Johnson government appointed Richard Sharp, a Conservative Party donor and Brexit supporter; as the chairman of the broadcaster.

In 2020, a campaign group called 'Defund The BBC' was set up to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee and reduce the scope of the BBC Charter.

The broadcaster's reportage has faced criticism in countries like India for its blatant pro-Islamist bias and deliberate underreporting India's economic and social achievements

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