The grassroots campaign Defund the BBC has attacked the national broadcaster following a new round of TV Licensing warnings that the group has branded a “campaign of intimidation.”
Rebecca Ryan, who is campaign director for the group, told the Express newspaper that the BBC’s “communications strategy is to bully to fund it up” and warned that there is “no doubt they will carry on during this lockdown as well.”
“If you have got vulnerable people at home who do not want to be intimidated on their doorstep, how is it essential work of the BBC via licensing to threaten people on their doorsteps? I don’t see the point in it at all really other than keeping a threat over people’s heads. If that’s how the BBC funds itself, then what does that say about their quality of output that they have to use that level of threat to keep themselves financed.”Rebecca Ryan, Defund the BBC
The row broke out following reports earlier this week that TV Licensing enforcers had resumed home visits despite the coronavirus pandemic, having halted the practice in March.
One letter warning of a home visit, seen by the Express, told the recipient: “you are in breach of the Communications Act 2003.”
TV Licensing defended the practice of ongoing home visits by citing their “duty to enforce the law”, although Foxhole fact-checkers have confirmed that possession of a television licence is not actually required by law if you do not receive live television broadcasts.
Such practices may further damage the perception of the BBC among the public, with a spate of recent polling painting a bleak picture for an institution which claims to represent the British people.
A YouGov survey published last week showed nearly half of Brits thought the broadcaster represented their views either fairly badly or very badly, while a third saw it continuing to drift even further away from them.
It also follow the inflow of a record number of complaints over the Christmas season, as the impartial state broadcaster regaled viewers with a pro-BLM episode of the Vicar of Dibley and New Year’s coverage that was supportive of the controversial and divisive political movement.