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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

The BBC and its License Fee

FB discussion here

A new page! The British Broadcasting Corporation: Its Status, and Some Issues.

The British Broadcasting Corporation's services and products are used by 98% of the adults in Britain, every week. Its website, mostly news and weather, is the most popular and highest quality of its kind and its natural history programs are the best. There are no adverts streamed on its TV channels nor on its website. In an era where all such traditional services are suffering from the increased competition from the Internet, the BBC is less confident than it used to be, worrying about its own shrinking influence against the mass of more-entertaining but less-informative news sources available online. There are debates about who its services should be aimed at and whether the license fee should be changed or shared.

The contents menu is

  1. The License Fee (and reasons for changing it)
  2. The Reach of the BBC
  3. Benefits of Leaving the BBC Unchanged
  4. Conclusions
  5. Links

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When I set out to write this page, the point of it was simple: to argue against the Licence Fee, which I resented paying, because I didn't watch TV, but I did have kit in the house that was capable of receiving TV, so, therefore, I had to pay it. This ludicrous situation made me collect notes throughout 2003-2005 (approx) on the topic, meaning to one day launch it. However when I researched it properly a few years later, I became convinced by the counter-arguments that the BBC was worth keeping! So I paused the page. I've decided to put it up as it is, now, being mostly an argument for leaving the BBC as it is, License Fee and all! Maybe with some discussion and criticism, I can put some more content on there.

Philosophically, I'm opposed to the idea of the BBC licence-fee; it's essentially a "tax on viewing", We don't have a State-run newspaper-network funded by a levy on reading other books/newspapers/magazines, so why should the State expect to tax us for watching TV even if we have no intention whatsoever of watching any BBC transmissions?

In the 1970s and 1980s we ridiculed Pravda because it was seen as the mouthpiece of the Soviet party-mechanism. Some of us view the BBC as "the voice of the Establishment" with equal distaste. Why should everyone be forced to pay for Statist/Collectivist propaganda?

If the BBC wants to continue to exist, I'd have no problems at all if it were to encrypt its transmissions and then anyone who wanted to watch it could pay the annual licence-fee and in return get a decryption-key linked to their TV licence. If people think it's worth the money, they'll pay.

The rest of us - lacking the BBC decrypt key - would get to watch ITV/Al-Jazeera/Sky/Russia-Today/Fox/ESPN but no BBC channels.

That suits me.

Edited at 2013-10-15 07:49 pm (UTC)

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