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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?

Yes, the BBC license should be mandatory Show more Show less

The BBC provides a non-excludable service of public good and could only function in its current form through a mandatory license fee.
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The BBC World Service serves the national interest

The World Service presents Britain's face to the world, and is a major tool of the UK's Soft Power.

The Argument

The TV license fees pay for the World Service, a British news program that broadcasts in 43 languages globally as of 2020.[1] The World Service is part of Britain's soft power foreign affairs strategy[2]. Soft power is a diplomatic strategy used by individual nations to encourage international co-operation through persuasion and influence rather than aggression and violence.[2][3] The World Service is a soft power because it promotes British interests and values across the globe by the way it conveys the news. For example, by condemning war crimes or promoting greater humanitarian aid to developing countries. Since 1932 the BBC World Service has broadcasted independent and reliable news across the world.[1] Especially today in the era of fake news, the reliability and trust in the world service are critical. Competing state-sponsored broadcasters, such as Al-Jezeera, Russia Today, and China Central Television, are threatening Britain's influence[4]. These competing broadcasters receive significantly more investment than the BBC and their influence is growing. [4] The rise of these competing broadcasters undermines Britain's ability to influence foreign nations. The funding provided by the TV license fee is therefore important for Britain's ability to maintain diplomatic influence abroad. Rather than depend on coercive tactics, the World Service's role as the international voice of Britain encourages democracy and maintains a steady stream of reliable information around the world.

Counter arguments

The BBC World Service's soft power has been criticised for influencing foreign nations. Hakim Adi, professor of the history and African diaspora studies at the University of Chichester, argues that the BBC's soft power influence is a form of colonialism by imposing "British values" on a foreign nation.[5]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Soft power is an important diplomatic tool. [P2] The World Service is a soft power which promotes British values abroad. [P3] TV License fees which pay for the World Service maintain Britain's influence abroad.

Rejecting the premises

Further Reading

https://theconversation.com/speaking-in-tongues-bbc-world-service-expansion-aims-to-extend-british-soft-power-69022

References

  1. https://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/the-bbc-world-service-and-global-britain
  2. https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/soft-power-and-the-uks-influence/news/soft-power-report-24mar14/
  3. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/people-politics-law/politics-policy-people/society-matters/the-bbc-world-service-force-good-look-after-it-or-risk-losing-it
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jan/28/bbc-world-service-cuts-uk-global-soft-power
  5. https://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/bbc-world-service-expanding-global-democracy-or-just-a-tool-of-soft-power-for-the-uk-1.624212

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This page was last edited on Monday, 6 Jul 2020 at 23:02 UTC

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