FunAstrologyAttack on the "National Treasure" BBC

Attack on the "National Treasure" BBC

The British government wants to abolish broadcasting fees. This leads to outrage, and the political background is also obvious.

It is a frontal attack on an almost 100-year-old British icon: the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, beset by scandals, is questioning the BBC’s funding. The broadcasting fee for the most famous public broadcaster in the world will be frozen for the next two years and abolished entirely by 2027 at the latest, Culture Minister Nadine Dorries informed the House of Commons on Monday. In the future, old people would no longer be “threatened with prison sentences and harassed by bailiffs”.

As usual, the attack on the broadcaster, which many conservatives perceive as too liberal, was pierced through to the media in advance. Dorries confirmed the news on Sunday on the short message network Twitter, surprising the BBC leadership around Director General Tim Davie. The negotiations with the government, which have been going on for months, are “not yet complete”, the broadcasters said on Monday morning. This is formally correct insofar as the government project has to be approved by the lower house.

Dorries is one of Johnson’s closest political allies; The appointment of the author of popular novels as Minister of Culture came as a surprise to friend and foe alike in September. Like the prime minister herself, Dorries has never been in any doubt about her hostility towards the broadcaster. At the Tory party conference in October, she attacked “groupthink” and a “lack of objectivity” on the BBC.

Johnson’s precarious position after revelations about lockdown parties in Downing Street may have accelerated Dorries’ announcement. At least that’s what a number of the London media claim: “Operation red meat” is intended to pacify the party people, but especially the parliamentary group, and to distract them from Johnson’s scandals.

Aunty sells well

It has been clear since Johnson took office in July 2019 that the BBC will face difficult political times. Commercially, “Aunty Beeb”, as the institution is affectionately known, is having a harder time every day anyway, thanks to extremely wealthy US companies such as Amazon and Netflix. On the other hand, the audience of conventional TV stations is getting older. This leads to less acceptance of the broadcasting fee, which is currently £159 (€190.21) per household and year. Added to these revenues were handsome sums – up to a quarter of the total budget of 6.06 billion euros most recently – from the worldwide sale of popular programs. The minister seems to be counting on the increasing commercialization of new BBC content. New ways of funding, supporting and selling “great British content” must now be discussed.

The government’s plan has met with a wave of criticism from liberal conservatives and cultural giants. Former Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington recalled that just last year the new security doctrine highlighted the BBC’s role as a key contributor to the kingdom’s soft power, reaching 468 million people worldwide every week in 42 languages. “It would be better to strengthen and reform than weaken and denigrate.” The best-selling author Jonathan Coe argued similarly. You can’t rave about “global Britain” and at the same time talk down a British institution with an international reputation: “That’s crazy.” The Liberal Democrat party leader Edward Davey even called the BBC “a beloved national treasure”.

General director Davie, formerly head of commercial subsidiary BBC Studios, has tried to calm down the fronts with the Conservative government in the year and a half since his appointment. This includes greater regionalization away from the metropolis of London and the request for BBC stars to refrain from making public statements. In the coming weeks, he will be tasked with ensuring the survival of his station. Comment p. 11

Arbor Day: "Nature is the greatest artist"

Gerhard Reusch transforms her works into abstract and surreal images. The Aschaffenburg artist photographs the bark of native trees.

Hay fever: Something is blooming again!

Spring is finally beckoning in all its glory. But that's exactly the problem: cabaret artist Anne Vogd has hay fever.

"Inventing Anna" on Netflix – wasted potential

The Netflix series "Inventing Anna" puts accents in the wrong place and waters down a suspenseful crime. The "Next Episode" series column.

ARD crime scene from Hamburg: The transparent "tyrant murder"

Today's Hamburg crime scene "Tyrannenmord" of the ARD with Wotan Wilke Möhring has no time for the big questions.

Curved Things

About snake smugglers, snake lines and a rare phobia.