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Should the BBC license be mandatory?
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BBC News is an essential public service

We pay for the police and fire brigade; like them, a national news service is an essential service.


While much of BBC coverage is made redundant by the private offerings on the market, BBC News is a unique product that could not be replicated by the private sector.

The Argument

In democracies, government has an obligation to keep its population informed. Democracies cannot function if voters do not have the information they need to allow them to make good decisions at the ballot box. The BBC's news offering was founded on that premise, and continues to fulfil it. While other elements of the BBC's offering compete with the private sector, BBC News is unique in its capacity to make editorial decisions free from any commercial constraints. There has been a colossal destruction of value in the media and journalism business globally over the last 15 years, which has meant bureaus closing, 30% of journalists laid off (from peak numbers) and a reduction of critical coverage. Misinformation, and outright disinformation have spread like wildfire since. BBC News, as a source of deep, trustworthy reporting, is an essential national service, and justifies the licence fee alone.

Counter arguments



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Friday, 10 Jul 2020 at 01:50 UTC

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