MMedia institutions funded by state-collected fees are under pressure almost everywhere in the western world – including the oldest and largest, the BBC. Complaints of partiality are mixed with accusations of unfair competitive advantage and wasting feepayers’ money. More than a million citizens have (illegally) stopped paying in the past four years. The BBC now went on the offensive and announced the merger of its two largest news channels, BBC World and BBC News.
According to the plan, 70 jobs will be cut in Great Britain, but 20 jobs will be created in America. The program will then be broadcast from London during the day and from Singapore and Washington at night. With more than 20,000 employees, this is not a radical intervention, but it is an attempt to streamline. BBC boss Richard Sharp and his general director Tim Davie are also reacting to the Conservative government’s decision to freeze fees for two years at £159 a year (about €16 a month). Culture Minister Nadine Dorries also announced in January that she would make a fundamental decision on the fee system by 2027. Should the Tories win the next election again, the BBC could lose its privilege of being coerced by the public. The merger of the news channels would then only be the beginning of a far-reaching restructuring.
The attitude of the Tories is ambivalent. On the one hand, they see the usefulness of the BBC as a globally respected news source for the Brexit goal of a “Global Britain”. On the other hand, they accuse the station of political bias. The BBC, it is said, portrays Brexit negatively, advocates climate policy, sympathizes with the “Woke” side in Britain’s culture war and abhors the Tories. The critics felt vindicated when, two years ago, the conservative journalist Charles Moore was being discussed as the channel’s new “Chairman” and there was an outcry from the workforce.