Johnson government takes aim at the BBC again

In a renewed offensive against the BBC, the British government has announced that it will cut funding to the public broadcaster starting 2027. For the BBC, this would mean it would have to axe thousands of jobs and shut down several programmes. The opposition has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of using the plan to divert attention from the Partygate scandal.

Open/close all quotes
The Guardian (GB) /

Completely off the mark

The Tories don't understand the value of the BBC, The Guardian fumes:

“This global asset is tossed aside in the ideological mayhem created by this strange generation of nation-destroying Tories. Mesmerised by the noise made by its detractors in the rightwing press, Johnson thinks the BBC is some preserve of the metropolitan liberal elite. ... If the BBC, and its users, make a trenchant and confident case for what everyone would lose without it, it will survive and thrive. So the country has to ask itself what it values most: a great national broadcaster with such a wealth of programmes at the cheapest rate, or the political posturing of a lame-duck prime minister?”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Come down from its pedestal

But The Daily Telegraph see no reason why the BBC should enjoy special status:

“The new media behemoths often produce output of a higher quality than the BBC, which is replete with reality shows, games and quizzes that are not obviously in the public interest. Moreover, in order to function, the Corporation seems to require a bureaucracy of highly paid executives who seem to believe it is acceptable for poorer people to pay more to fund their inflated salaries. The BBC fears the licence fee freeze will cost it millions of pounds. In which case it should do what everyone else has to do in straitened circumstances and make economies in its annual budget.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

BBC still needed as counterweight

The Frankfurter Rundschau sees this as more than a mere diversionary manoeuvre by the government:

“The Conservatives declared war on the liberal giant a long time ago - not just because of the many critical reports on Brexit and its sometimes dramatic consequences. If the plan is not stopped, not only will thousands lose their jobs at the broadcaster, but also the British media landscape, which has been shifted to the right by Rupert Murdoch and others, would lose an important counterweight.”