The BBC and Funding
The agony of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was only just beginning, a slow but relentless assault on the political and fiscal integrity of the Corporation by a Conservative government bent on changing the BBC. The then Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, declaimed that the licence fee was not ‘eternal’. Apparently, the government was considering establishing—as part of its examination of renewal of the BBC royal charter—a Public Service Broadcasting Council, partly funded by the licence fees which had hitherto gone only to the BBC. The context in which this was taking place was clear: the rise of the ‘new media’ of cable and satellite; the effective privatising of the ITV system, which in effect shed public service obligations despite an alleged commitment to ‘quality’; and a consistent policy of squeezing the real value of the licence fee.
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