Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Brits pay £135.50 for WHAT?

It hasn't been a good few days at the BBC. First, controversy over a trailer for a special about Betty Windsor where it appears she's storming out of a photo shoot with Annie Leibowitz when in fact that didn't happen. Then last week, the broadcast regulator in the UK fined "Mother" a record £50,000 for faking a phone-in contest on the kids' show Blue Peter.

And as of late last night, the Beeb has suspended all phone-in contests indefinitely after it was revealed there were even more phony contests, including during some marquee fundraising events for legitimate charities like Comic Relief and Children in Need. The BBC Trust, which is supposed to montor how the license fees the people in Britain and Northern Ireland must pay to have a TV set in the first place are spent (presently the tax is £135.50 per household per year), has been forced into damage control; including forcing the BBC's 16,000 + employees to undergo "integrity" training.

Not that the CBC is perfect either, quite frankly its editorial standards have declined the last few years. But here in Canada all we can hope for is two ombudsmen (one English, one French) who monitor complaints about content only as a last resort; and when was the last time the CBC paid a fine to the CRTC? Maybe if we had a system of licences like they do in most of the EU the state broadcaster could actually be held into account since we could demand value for money.

Maybe then we could be spared such travesties as Gill Deacon and the pointless "Living in ..." regional shows.

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