Monitor: The future of the BBC - The Beeb comes under fire

Reaction to the news of Des Lynam's defection to ITV Sport and the Gavyn Davies report into the funding of the BBC
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The Independent Culture
Daily Record

THE BEEB may try to shrug off Des Lynam's loss, but it is about more than a big money contract for a small-screen charmer. Des is going where the big games are shown. At ITV, he will introduce major live matches including the FA Cup and the Champions' League. The BBC have also lost a whole range of major sports including Test cricket and Formula One racing. If they carry on like that, their sports department will be left with rounders and netball. Meanwhile, the BBC wastes money on a bloated bureaucracy, stale sitcoms, unwatchable fly-on-the-wall documentaries, unfunny comics and programmes with limited audiences.

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The Mirror

THERE IS only one word to describe the demand for a pounds 24 hike in the licence fee so the Corporation can go digital: outrageous.

We have no doubt it would help the Beeb to have a good stab at this exciting new medium. But one glance at their track record leaves us less than convinced they deserve our help. The truth is that the BBC has wasted millions and millions of pounds of YOUR money on daft ideas like its pitiful; 24 hour news channel. We should not be forking out for BBC chiefs' lack of vision.

If the BBC can't fund digital TV out of the existing licence fee then it should stop pretending to be the great public servant that it clearly isn't any more - and raise the cash through adverts like everyone else.

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The Guardian

THE DAVIES Committee realised that for the BBC of 1999 to stick with analogue and ignore digital would be as suicidal as it would have been for the BBC of 1949 to cling to radio and refuse to move to television. If the BBC stood aside, a new environment would develop, dominated by pay-per-view and subscription services, unavailable to those on low income.

There was a genuine social exclusion worry here: without the BBC providing a range of output affordable to everyone through the licence fee, the poorest in our society risked being cut off from the new site of national conversation. Davies accepted that the BBC has to play the new game with the big guys. And that takes money.

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The Morning Star

MR DAVIES proposes that there should be a pounds 24 licence fee for digital television. This seems acceptable as a short-term move, because those who can afford digital television can afford the fee. But the BBC is committed to switching off analogue programmes and that will mean that the fee will have to be paid by everyone. Such a policy is manifestly unfair to the pensioners and the poor and is not acceptable.

Like so much of the Davies report, it is short-termism which avoids acting in the interests of the people.

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financial Times

SINCE IT was founded in 1926, the BBC has been respected throughout the world for objective news and making the good popular and the popular good. But under severe funding pressure in recent years, it has shown signs of losing its old touch.

A digital fee for a digital age gives it a chance to adapt its traditional standards to a crowded and dynamic market. If it fails, it should not be given another.

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The Sun

OUR PARENT company, News Corporation, bet the entire ranch on Sky... the entire company's future rested on its success. In the process millions of Brits were given more choice, 24-hour news, the best movies and the best in sports.

Now, a few years later, Sky Digital customers are to be asked to pay pounds 24 to help its main rival, the BBC catch up.

What sort of country is this, that punishes the risk takers we so badly need?

Why not let Greg Dyke get into the BBC and start cutting costs first?

The proposal isn't just a total and utter disgrace.

It is scandalous.

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New Statesman

NO WONDER Mr Murdoch's papers denigrate what in effect is one of his main rivals. In the digital age we shall need the BBC more than ever. The only question is whether the licence fee is the best mechanism. It is a bad tax. But as a method of funding it has held good for over 70 years; no other country has come up with a better alternative.

If Britishness is to have any meaning at all beyond the mystical, the BBC like the NHS, must be regarded as an indelible part of our national ecology. We meddle with it at our peril.

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