BBC licence fee 'no longer fit for purpose' says expert
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The latest crisis for the BBC comes in the wake of findings from an official report over Martin Bashir’s bombshell interview with Princess Diana. The enquiry from Lord Dyson concluded Mr Bashir used “deceitful behaviour” and was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines to secure his Panorama interview with Princess Diana in 1995. Mr Bashir was found to have breached rules by mocking up fake bank statements and showing them to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer to gain access to the Princess of Wales, the report found.
But the BBC also came under furious attack, with Lord Dyson concluding it “fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark” in a subsequent investigation.
Senior BBC bosses were heavily criticised over an internal investigation a year after the Diana interview, which looked at the mocked-up documents relating to the earl’s former employee in an attempt to determine whether or not the princess had been misled, with a key piece of evidence, a note from Diana, suggesting she had not.
Following the findings from Lord Dyson’s report, one leading think tank has demanded radical reform of the BBC to include the scrapping of the much-criticised licence fee and handing control of the broadcaster to the British public.
Bow Group chairman Ben Harris-Quinney told Express.co.uk: “There has never been a reasonable justification for a compulsory licence fee, paid to one media organisation just to have the right to operate a television set in your own home.
“Leaving aside their obvious bias, very few young people have a licence, and will never get one.
“The licence fee must be scrapped, and this would benefit the BBC as much as the public as they need to transition.
“It is crucially important however that we don’t just scrap the licence fee because that would gift multi-billion pound media organisation effectively owned by the public to yet another bunch of metropolitan liberals.
He added: “The BBC needs to either be broken up or managed in public ownership, but without the licence fee.
“The vast majority of Conservative Party supporters, and I think the public also, expect action on the BBC.
“They expect reform, and they expect the corruption to be held to account.
“The Government now needs to step up to that expectation.
“The Bow Group has called for the licence fee to be scrapped, for the BBC to be broken up and sold off with monies returned to the exchequer, or for it to be placed in public ownership with public scrutiny.”
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Rebecca Ryan, campaign director at Defund The BBC, accused the UK Government of letting the broadcaster get away with too much for too long and has demanded ministers now take firm action.
She told Express.co.uk: “The Government’s view with the BBC is ‘one last chance’ or ‘this must not happen again’ and ‘we’ll look into reforming governance’. That’s not enough.
“We have seen numerous polls where the British public wants the licence fee to end and for the BBC to become a subscription service.
“From the Government to simply say ‘the BBC must try harder’, it’s just not good enough.
“What is it going to take for the Government to take this seriously and not just carry on as business as usual?”
The Defund The BBC campaign director added: “It’s time for the UK Government to make the BBC privately funded.
“This is absolutely outrageous to pay for an organisation that is being allowed to carry on marking its own homework.
“If they were out in the wider market competing as a normal broadcaster, customers could vote with their feet and they could be held to account.
“But currently, people are forced to put up with bullying and harassment on their doorstep into paying for something that doesn’t represent them and is insulting towards them.”
The BBC has attempted to defend its standing and reputation, with a spokesperson telling Express.co.uk: “The BBC is the most used media brand in the UK and we continue to offer great value for money.
“The licence fee remains the agreed method of funding in the BBC Charter until at least 2027.”
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