Boris Johnson's attack on BBC is a threat to essential public service broadcasting – Angus Robertson MSP

Public service broadcasting is essential for any functioning democratic society.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:30 pm
Boris Johnson's government has launched a full-frontal funding attack on the BBC (Picture: Tolga Akmen/pool via AP)
Boris Johnson's government has launched a full-frontal funding attack on the BBC (Picture: Tolga Akmen/pool via AP)

Its journalists are free to hold decision-makers to account and programme-makers produce varied output which would often not be found from the commercial competition.

Usually public service broadcasters get it in the neck from people on all sides at some stage, but in general they get the balance about right.

Just as Boris Johnson has been exposed to the last doubters as a lying, incompetent and corrupt Prime Minister, his government has launched a full-frontal funding attack on the BBC.

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Together with other wild and ideologically driven initiatives to distract attention from the Downing Street party scandal, his Tory praetorian guard wants to freeze and then scrap the BBC licence fee. This follows their privatisation plans for Channel 4.

UK government Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has started speculation about freezing the licence fee, which would deprive BBC of more than £2 billion for its TV and radio stations, the BBC website, podcasts, iPlayer and apps.

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As a supporter of Scottish independence, I have long been critical of BBC coverage of Scottish politics, but I am also proud to have worked as a BBC correspondent for nearly a decade.

We need a proper debate about public service broadcasting in Scotland, with broadcasting powers exercised by the Scottish Parliament elected by the people of Scotland.

Until then, unfortunately we will be at the mercy of Nadine Dorries, Boris Johnson and their apologists. We must change that and we will do just that.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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