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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Auntie’s Global Ambitions

As David Carr pointed out on these pages earlier, Britain’s state-subsidised British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is increasingly indistinguishable from a ward of the state. It is not a free standing commercial organisation which has to persuade folk to watch or listen to it out of their free will, but rather has a license fee which is essentially a tax on owning a television. Broadcasting peers around the world are therefore getting annoyed that the BBC seems bent on grabbing a share of their audiences despite it having the unfair advantage of a guaranteed income. An article in the Financial Times (sorry, link requires registration) indicated:

“In the past two years, that output has largely transformed the BBC from a largely domestic news service oriented around two analogue channels – BBC1 and BBC2 – to an international competitor among commercial satellite and cable broadcasters including CNN and Fox News of the U.S.”

One question which is begged by the FT article – if the BBC is posing such a threat and is not a fair commercial competitor, but one with coercive funding, how come domestic or international competition authorities like Mario Monti of the EU Commission are not kicking up a stink? Maybe they should do so. As a reporter for one of the oldest and greatest news services in the world (creep!), I feel I have a small stake in the matter!

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