Letter: Digital `poll tax'

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Sir: So the BBC plans to use the introduction of digital TV to increase its ransom.

Before ministers accept that an increase in this regressive form of taxation would be right, I ask them to ask a more fundamental question. That is how any broadcasting licence conforms with the clause of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states that freedom of opinion and expression embraces the right to "receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".

In Britain I am forbidden even from briefly watching an American TV channel through the Internet unless I have paid off the BBC. If the Government would put aside expediency and finance the BBC through the general taxation system or other means, freedom of communication would be restored.

JOHN PRATT

Centre for Citizenship

London SE23

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