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Let people choose whether to subscribe to the BBC or not

Comment 11th July 2010

Why should it be a criminal offence to own a TV but to choose not subsribe to the BBC?   Large sections of the BBC's output (particularly entertainment & sport) could just as easily be provided by Sky or another commercial provider.  No-body forces us to subscribe to Sky, so why are we compelled to subscribe to the BBC?    If the argument is that the BBC's is there to  "inform, educate and entertain," that may have been legitimate in an age before mass electronic communication, widespread internet access and decent levels of competition from the commercial sector, but surely the world is now completely different from Lord Reith's day?  Shouldn't the BBC bring itself up to date?    If the argument is that the BBC stands up for the public's right to be properly and indepedently informed about the activities of the politicians, business leaders and so on, that might be fair in a limited way but does that justify forcing people to subscribe to the BBC's entertainment and sports divisions at the same time?  Perhaps the licence fee could be dramatically reduced (eg to 20% of current levels, if that would pay for the News division), while the Entertainement and Sports divisions could be floated off into private companies (helping reduce the public deficit?).  We would then be free to choose whether or not to subscribe to these new private services.

Why does this matter?

Promotes choice;  gets the debate going about what the BBC is there for; gets the state out of the entertainment business; could help with the deficit?

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