A new poll from the Telegraph has found that 91% of over 14,000 readers believe the BBC licence fee should be scrapped. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker’s suspension for appearing to breach the BBC’s impartiality rules on social media prompted a resurgence in debate over the BBC licence fee after some Conservative MPs demanded it be scrapped.
Mr Lineker tweeted that the Government’s language about its new migration legislation was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s”.
The remark prompted a backlash that saw him forced to step back for one episode of Match of the Day, but he was reinstated after the BBC agreed to review its social media guidance. Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, was criticised for “capitulating” to the presenter.
In light of the news on Friday that the licence fee could rise by £13 next year, the backlash intensified further.
In the wake of the row, an exclusive poll by the Telegraph has found that 91% of over 14,000 readers agree that the BBC should scrap its mandatory licence fee, which is currently set at £159 a year.
Similar results were observed a year ago, when nearly two thirds of the public backed the abolition of the BBC licence fee, according to a survey by pollsters Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus, after former culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced plans to freeze the levy.
One of the overriding reasons, which is echoed by many Telegraph readers, is that the corporation lacks impartial and objective journalism, with some describing it as “regressive and out of date”.
Of course, these are Telegraph readers, so perhaps we should not be too surprised they are not sympathetic with the BBC. But then, doesn’t that reveal the problem? If we can guess your view of the BBC simply from knowing your newspaper of choice, that suggests impartiality has been lost.
I also suspect such views go far beyond Telegraph readers. There are the other polls cited in the article, and anecdotally I find BBC employees I speak to now take it as a given that the licence fee must go. And this was already the case before Gary Lineker gave us his latest political insights.
Even the BBC spokesperson who talked to the Telegraph seemed to at least partially agree:
A BBC spokesperson said: “Longstanding, independent research shows the Licence Fee remains the most popular way of funding the BBC. It is the agreed method of funding until at least 2027 and ensures the BBC is an independent, universal broadcaster, which invests in U.K. creativity and talent. Beyond that, we are open minded about the future, and it is right there is a debate on whether the Licence Fee needs to evolve.”
Worth reading in full.
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