Saturday, 21 November 2009

Top slicing the BBC - the result

Earlier in the week I blogged about the threat facing the BBC posed by the proposed top-slicing. I encouraged readers of this blog and follower over on my Twitter feed to get involved and contact their MP to voice their concerns about the implications of such a move. The civic action group 38 Degrees was crucial to mobilising protest against this movement with it's email template and MP finding resource. I wrote to my MP and I encouraged my colleagues in the University of Sunderland Media department to do this same (a big thank you to all those who got involved - it's appreciated!).

I thought several of you may be interested in the verdict...

I received a mail from 38 Degrees over on Facebook which poitned to the success of the campaign. You can read the message below:

Dear friend,

This week thousands of us worked together to persuade the government not to top-slice the licence fee. The government had been expected to confirm their top-slicing plans in the Queen's speech on Wednesday. This would have threatened the BBC's funding and independence, by handing a chunk of the licence fee to rival broadcasters. After thousands of us signed the petition and wrote to our MPs, the government announced that they aren't pushing ahead with top-slicing, and that the matter will now be reviewed by the next government in 2012.

We've had a big success, which shows that it works when we stand up for the BBC together. But politicians and media millionaires continue to attack the BBC and there could still be a big cut in the licence fee in the future. The more of us there are involved in the campaign, the stronger we'll be when it's time to stand up for the BBC against future threats.

Ask your friends to get involved in the campaign by forwarding this email and asking them to click this link: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/standup4thebbc

We've always known that top-slicing is not the only threat facing the organisation. Many powerful interests will continue attacking the BBC - from rival media companies who resent the competition, to politicians who think that it should tow their line. We know the BBC isn't perfect and has made mistakes which make it more vulnerable to criticism, but it's definitely worth protecting.

The Conservative Party are talking up their plans to cut the licence fee, and potentially close down whole parts of the BBC. Just yesterday, David Cameron said "the BBC has got very overextended and the licence fee is high". [1] [2]

The media multi-millionaire Rupert Murdoch is increasingly vocal in his attacks, calling the licence fee a "scandal". [3] His son, James Murdoch, the chief executive and chairman of News Corporation, says the licence fee should become "much, much smaller".

Together we've seen off the threat of top-slicing, which shows that people power works. The more of us there are, the more effective we'll be in standing up for the BBC against future attacks. Can you ask your friends to join in? Please forward this email and ask them to join the campaign by clicking this link: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/standup4thebbc


Thanks for getting involved,

David, Hannah, Johnny, Nina and the 38 Degrees team


[1] http://www.mumsnet.com/onlinechats/david-cameron-nov-09#BBC_licence_fee

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6574186/BBC-licence-fee-could-be-cut-Tories-say.html

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/digital-media/6533512/Rupert-Murdoch-could-sue-BBC-and-block-Google.html
Good news in the short term! However, the commercial sector will always look to the BBC as a threat and seek to lobby government to curb it's reach. The medium term future of the BBC looks rocky, especially if the Conservative party get into power by next summer. It needs the support of the licence fee paying public, so, stand up for the BBC.

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