New BBC DG coy on subject of licence fee

The latest Director General of the BBC, Lord Tony Hall, began his new position this week with an e-mail to BBC staff and an interview on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme. 

Tony Hall interview Today programme

During the interview – which is well worth a listen in full – Hall claimed that public trust in the BBC is rising and that he intends to respond “to things I hear from both outsiders and also insiders”. The delightfully feisty programme host John Humphrys raised the subject of the licence fee, but Hall declined to give a straight answer to the question “does the BBC need more money?”. 

On that issue, The Commentator recently published a very interesting article by the initiator of a petition calling for a referendum on the licence fee.

“The Licence Fee was established at a time when there was no alternative to State-funded radio or television, but has now created a dumb, yet enormously fat and happy playground bully that pervades, influences and commands almost every aspect of the British way of life.

In an age of media “a la carte”, the BBC insists on dictating the menu, as well as fixing the price. The politicians won’t take the lead in muzzling this beast: the Tories had their opportunity but are running scared; Labour and the Lib Dems sycophantically suck-up to get their free shot of publicity (Vince Cable is almost a saint). Even UKIP is strangely silent on this issue.

So it is up to us, the great British public, to do something about it.”

If Mr Hall is genuinely interested in listening to his funding public, the proposal raised by this petition presents an innovative and inclusive way in which to do so.  

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