Britain: BBC coming under pressure
Boris Johnson is not considered a friend of the BBC, which he accuses of biased reporting. In the election campaign he threatened to cut the broadcaster's main source of funding: public service broadcasting fees. Now a spokesman has confirmed that failure to pay the fee is to be decriminalized, meaning that the broadcaster could lose up to 200m pounds per year. Are the BBC's days numbered?
Hard times for Auntie
The election results could have unpleasant consequences for the BBC, which is often fondly referred to as "Auntie", The Economist fears:
“The Tories' anger is deep. Their ire stems not only from their view of it as the Brexit Bashing Corporation. Those who argue that the Beeb's troubles will blow over point out that its licence fee is protected by royal charter until 2027. But it will need to reach another fee settlement in 2022. [Boris Johnson's special adviser] Mr Cummings and the prime minister were willing to prorogue Parliament; they might well countenance legislation to change the BBC's funding. Changing the BBC's leadership could be another approach. In the past the corporation could count on allies on both sides of politics. Just now it is looking rather friendless.”
Johnson is not Kaczyński
The British needn't fear massive restrictions on media freedom, Gazeta Wyborcza writes:
“It's no secret that Boris Johnson's government is not a fan of the BBC. But the United Kingdom is not Poland, where, after an election victory, the head of state television can be replaced with an obedient presidential pit bull terrier from the victorious party. The BBC is not without its flaws, but the coverage of the election campaign was so good that now all the politicians are unhappy about it. ... So there can be no doubt that the attack on the BBC is politically motivated - also because the broadcaster defends the free market of ideas.”