David Dimbleby says move to scrap BBC licence fee is ‘dangerous’

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Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby has said that the BBC is under threat in “in a way it has never been before”.

The former Question Time host, 81, said the Government was using the “pernicious route” by arguing the licence fee is “wrong and unfair”.

It follows claims last week suggesting that Number 10 could be prepared to scrap the TV licence fee as part of a move to scale back the broadcaster’s operations.

Cabinet reshuffle
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Matt Dunham/PA)

The Daily Mail reported that Dimbleby told Germany’s ARD state TV channel that moves to undermine the BBC were “dangerous”.

He said: “The BBC is under threat in a way it has never been before.

Read on...

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“The pernicious route they (the Government) are using is to say the licence fee is wrong or unfair.

“I don’t believe it is wrong or unfair.

“It is a way of damaging and undermining the BBC that is dangerous and should be resisted forcefully if public broadcasting is to survive.

“Anything that chips away at what we believe to be a good democratic process is dangerous and has to be fought against.

BBC cost cutting plans
The BBC in London (Ian West/PA

“It has to be explained why not speaking to people is dangerous, why not appearing on television is dangerous.”

Downing Street is considering replacing the TV licence fee with a subscription model, forcing the sale of most BBC radio stations, cutting the number of television stations and reducing the amount of online content, according to reports.

The Government is already consulting on proposals to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee and ministers have suggested it could be abolished altogether when the BBC’s charter comes up for renewal in 2027.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Both the left and the right view the BBC as being biased, outdated and needing reform at the very least. One of the few occasions where the thinking on both sides of the political arena is correct.
      My view is we should scrap it and consign over paid Etonian bores like Dimbleby to the past.

      1. David Dimbleby was privately educated but not at Eton. And he’s right about the Beeb.
        I’m an old state school educated socialist. The BBC is far from perfect but have you seen the sort of venomous bilge constantly poured out by Fox Channel 5 etc? I don’t hear of their “reporters” fielding death threats unlike World Service journos who attempt to report the truth.

    2. The main problem is that ‘so called independent news journalism’ at the BBC is being run by tabloid style journalists with only one objective, controversy.
      That is not what the BBC Charter requires, it requires unbiased plain reporting of facts, not controversial opinionated stories.

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