If You Want "Media Plurality" Break Up the BBC

guardian-logo The Guardianista campaign against Murdoch, Coulson and all their works is spearheaded by Dan Sabbagh, a former Labour councillor and campaign manager for Oona King, who now covers media and technology for the Guardian. He produced a chart yesterday based on industry data showing that the Sky/News Corp. group controls 22% of our news consumption.

This is a threat to something called “media plurality”. This is, we are told by Dan Sabbagh and all their less successful media rivals, a bad thing. Look down that list and you’ll notice that the BBC controls 39.3% of our news consumption.

The BBC must therefore be an even worse threat to “media plurality”, particularly when one considers that it is protected from fair competition by a state subsidy via taxation. Somehow this doesn’t worry the Guardian, which is hardly surprising because BBC News often feels like the broadcast arm of that paper. When one considers that the BBC overwhelmingly recruits from its pages the Guardian-BBC axis is abundantly clear.

The monolithic BBC is too big and the news weltanschauung is only one of many inherent problems. The Beeb’s size is a result of the massive over-funding that we’re forced to provide for it, it is as if we had to pay a state detergent manufacturer a tax on owning a washing machine.

One example problem out of many is that the BBC undermines regional competitors, we would have a thriving local commercial TV/radio culture if the BBC didn’t crowd out competitors and make them unfeasible – it is hard to compete with a business that doesn’t have to make a commercial return.

The BBC should not have a monopoly on public service broadcasting – if the licence fee has to continue funding public service broadcasting it should be distributed to other providers besides the BBC.

The decentralisation of our broadcasting culture would really create a more plural media.




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