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Repeal TV Licence

Comment 1st July 2010

Repeal sections of the Communications Act 2003 authorizing the BBC to levy the TV Licence fee.

Why does this matter?

Although I have not owned a TV for more than 10 years, I regularly continue to receive threatening letters from the BBC saying what they will do to to me unless I pay the licence fee. I have had repeated visits from BBC inspectors who DEMAND immediate entry to my house to look for television equipment. Neither the letters nor the inspectors are particularly polite, and the latter refuse to return at a later time when they disturb me in the middle of something: they demand entry to my house immediately (despite the fact they have been there on numerous prior occasions which have always confirmed I do not own a TV).

Is a man's home not his castle? Why is a private company allowed to levy a private tax (the non-payment of which is an offence), and why are they allowed to bully me into entering my house at will – under any circumstances, but doubly so in circumstances like mine, where I have not owned a TV for more than a decade. If there is any justification for this, why is every other company not allowed to make random claims that various people are using their products or intellectual property, raid their homes and enforce criminal penalties for non-payment?

The TV licence likewise creates an effective monopoly on broadcasting, creating an unfair (and probably illegal under EU competition law and European Convention on Human Rights) monopoly and a non-level playing field in the business of broadcasting, restricting the freedom of other persons to enter this market and of small investors to invest in companies wanting to enter this market.

If ever there was a public interest protected by these laws, there surely isn't any more, particularly so as TV broadcasting becomes increasingly irrelevant, at the expense of Internet video (and other) technologies.

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