British government: Johnson wants to cut funding for BBC

Status: 01/17/2022 12:53 p.m

Because of the “Partygate” affair, Great Britain’s prime minister is under pressure like never before – even within his own party. In order to get more support again, he is now attacking the BBC. The opposition sees this as a diversionary maneuver and is appalled.

The opposition has reacted with outrage to plans by the British government to abolish the BBC’s subscription fees and freeze state subsidies. Prime Minister Boris Johnson only wanted to use the project to distract attention from his misconduct in the “Partygate” affair about lockdown parties at the seat of government, the Labor party criticized.

Labor expert Lucy Powell accused the government of “cultural vandalism”. “This is part of a diversionary strategy to blame everyone but himself,” Powell told Talk Radio.

Abolition of fees in 2027?

Culture Minister Nadine Dorries announced on Sunday that the fees would be abolished in 2027. The move is intended to reflect the increased importance of streaming services such as Netflix. Culture Minister Dorries, who caused a stir in 2012 with her participation in the British “jungle camp”, is considered one of Johnson’s most loyal supporters.

However, the BBC’s subscription payments have long been a thorn in the side of many Conservatives. Johnson had already announced in 2019 that he would revise the fee system.

Abolishing contributions, which currently account for the bulk of funding at £3.2bn (€3.83bn) a year, would mean a radical transformation for the BBC. Thousands of jobs would have to be cut and several programs and special interest channels shut down. Currently, each household pays £159 a year.

BBC as a school substitute in the pandemic

Despite falling revenues, the station with several TV channels, radio stations and the successful BBC iPlayer streaming service has recently found itself back on track. This is also due to a comprehensive savings program. Thousands of jobs have not been filled, and the salaries of famous moderators such as ex-soccer player Gary Lineker have been significantly reduced. In the pandemic, the BBC has often replaced schools, and the educational programs have been loudly praised.

In addition, the broadcaster has been considered a “soft power” for decades, transporting British values ​​such as democracy and freedom of expression to all corners of the world. Media experts now see this as being threatened by the government plans. In the BBC, the anger is apparently huge. Minister of Culture Dorries is causing enormous damage to the station, the Guardian reported, citing BBC sources. The project endangers popular dramas, documentaries and international service.

resignation demands against Johnson

Premier Johnson has been under enormous pressure for weeks because dozens of employees at his official residence are said to have celebrated several lockdown parties during the pandemic. The Prime Minister denies personal mistakes. The opposition and several conservative MPs are therefore demanding Johnson’s resignation. The crackdown on the BBC is seen as a pillar of his strategy to break free and reunite his party behind him.

As the newspaper “The Times” reported, Johnson wants to start with several populist projects for the liberation and also reunite his party behind him. These included an end to the corona rules in England and stricter action against migrants – and the BBC reform.

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