AN online campaign to defund the BBC has garnered 60,000 signatures in a few short days.
The campaign has been started by an 18 year old student at Glasgow University, James Youble.
His campaign only provides further momentum to a wider process as already this year, 120,000 people have cancelled their licence fee.
With so many media outlets now available, and such a wide range of alternative choices for people, the statutory licence fee of £165 is by now a glaring anachronism.
There seems no good reason why the BBC couldn’t be turned into a subscription service where viewers just pay for what they want to see.
It’s a very interesting political development in a way, as the BBC has traditionally been the mouthpiece of the British state.
In recent years, it has also adopted a very partisan left-liberal agenda, propogandizing ceaselessly about the merits of globalism, mass migration, identity politics and the like.
As far as Wales is concerned the abolition of the licence fee, and a scaling down of the BBC’s power can only be a positive development.
But we need to do some hard thinking about the nature of a new public service broadcaster (PBS) for Wales.
At a UK level, there seems little justification for a monolith like the BBC anymore.
But here in Wales, where media coverage is so poor, a distinct public service broadcaster has to be put in place for the sake of Welsh democracy. In the hope that other private initiatives could then follow in its wake.
Hopefully, devolving broadcasting to Wales can be a key theme at next year’s Senedd election.
The current BBC licence fee in Wales raises £184 million.
So what could a new Welsh licence fee reimagined as a ‘Broadcast and Telecommunications levy’ provide?
£100 million could easily cover the cost of two new channels, one in Welsh and one in English, providing the same level of service at present, around 7 hours a day.
£30 million could be spent on radio programming (same level as Ireland).
The remaining £50 million could be spent on buying in material from external sources (e.g. popular UK soaps, and other foreign shows).
This money could also perhaps support a new public news agency, or even providing specific press support as happens in several other small European nations.
It could possibly extend to broadband coverage for online purposes, such an essential part of both social and business life today
If a Welsh PSB were also to include advertising, this could bring in up to £25 million in additional revenue, taking the total sum over £200 million altogether.
As a party, we won’t weep any tears for the demise of the BBC.
It’s been institutionally hostile to Welsh identity and the Welsh language for years.
It’s high time for Wales to have its own public service broadcaster, dedicated to Welsh interests.