Front Page

The Figures

The Licence Fee

The Reduced Licence Fee

The Human Cost of the Licence Fee - the untold story

The Licence and the Law

Criminalising Licence Evasion

Dipsy's Tale


Click HERE to see the patronising and threatening tone of TV Licensing.


The CAL Discussion Forum



Click HERE to see the Act of Law under which TV Licensing will prosecute you.


The Conspiracy of Silence

The recent mass revolt against the Licence Fee in New Zealand received very little coverage in the UK media, even though it was highly relevent to our own debate about the TV Licence. The human rights abuses of the TV Licence (single mothers being imprisoned, blind people having to buy a TV Licence, etc) are rarely reported or debated in the UK media. Those of us campaigning against the TV Licence are given no coverage at all, meaning that most of the British public are not even aware that we exist. The BBC takes huge amounts of money from the public purse, money that is badly needed elsewhere, and yet rarely is this criticised in the UK media. It seems that the lid is kept very tight on any form of dissent or objective reporting about the TV Licence. The question is, why..?

The obvious answer is that the BBC itself forms a large part of the British media, and the BBC does not report anything that's negative about the TV Licence (bang goes their reputation for unbiased reporting!). As for the rest of the media, well, perhaps commercial television does not voice dissent against the TV Licence because they know that if the Licence is abolished the BBC would have to become commercial, in direct competition to themselves (there's barely enough advertising revenue to go round as it is). A large number of the UK newspapers are owned by people who also have interests in commercial television, so no help there.

It could, perhaps, be a fact that it's in the vested interest of certain people in positions of power in this country to keep the BBC and the Licence Fee exactly as it is. You see, there's huge amounts of money involved here (and I mean huge - most of it screwed out of the British public under threat of imprisonment) and an awful lot of people have their snouts in the trough. This could, perhaps, be everyone from the lawyers who prosecute people for Licence evasion (there's 200,000 prosecutions every year), to TV Licensing , who make big bucks out of enforcing the Licence (which is why they're so ruthless against Licence evaders), to the Post Office, who have a very profitable contract to sell TV Licences, to the BBC itself, which has more than 23,000 employees and other assorted hangers on and is deeply ingrained in the British establishment... if you dare to raise a voice against the TV Licence you're up against some very powerful people.

But voices do get raised: in March 1998 the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, NACAB, produced a social policy report called "TV Sinners". This report contained the real facts about TV Licence prosecutions, gathered from CAB's all around the country (this NACAB report received very little publicity at the time). As a result of this report, and NACAB campaigning against imprisonment as a penalty for non-payment of a TV licence, the government set up an advisary board to look into the whole issue of the TV Licence, and that's why there's been recent changes to the Licence Fee; ie, free licenses for the over 75's, a 50% reduction for blind people, etc, etc. (Click HERE to go to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux web site, where you can order a copy of this report, "TV Sinners")

The recent changes to the Licence Fee are purely cosmetic and a public relations exercise. Nothing's really changed, but what it shows is that the Government knows how much resentment there is against the Licence Fee, and they know how unjust and ridiculous it is for British citizens to have to pay to watch television under threat of imprisonment, but as long as those with vested interests manage to keep the lid on any dissent this state of affairs will continue.


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