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Should the BBC license be mandatory? Show more Show less
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Introduced in 1923, more than 25 million UK TV owners pay the annual license fee that fund the BBC’s television and radio operations. Non-payment is considered a criminal offence and can result in a hefty fine. As other European nations move away from mandatory license fees, should the UK government follow suit?

No, the license should not be mandatory Show more Show less

The BBC license fee surmounts to a regressive tax that disproportionately affects poor households, for a service that not everyone makes use of.
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The BBC Trust cannot be trusted

The BBC Trust, which receives the license fees, has proven it cannot be trusted with the responsibility.

Context

The BBC Trust is the organization that receives the license fee revenue.

The Argument

The BBC Trust was originally established as a regulator that was supposed to hold the organization to account. The Jimmy Saville crisis demonstrated that the BBC Trust cannot be trusted to handle sensitive matters. It was heavily influenced by the BBC management and worked to cover up the extent of Saville’s abuse. The Trust also engaged in a £450,000 payoff of the former BBC director-general George Entwistle, double the figure it was contractually obliged to payout. Entwistle only held the job for 54 days after he was forced to resign over a Newsnight program that made false accusations of paedophilia against Lord McAlpine, a former senior Conservative politician.[1]

Counter arguments

The trust has proven several times that it is willing to break with BBC management over high-profile decisions. In 2010 it rejected the attempts from BBC management to close its six music digital radio stations.[2]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] The license fee should go to an organization that can be trusted to use the money responsibly. [P2] The BBC Trust cannot be trusted to use the money responsibly. [P3] Therefore, the license fee should not be mandatory.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The BBC Trust can be trusted with the money.

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/nov/22/bbc-director-general-trust-newsnight
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/jul/05/bbc-6-music-saved

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This page was last edited on Monday, 30 Mar 2020 at 09:37 UTC

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