Farage: BBC’s ‘Days Are Numbered’, Will Face New Media Challengers

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage speaks onstage on August 27, 2019 in London, England. The Brexit Party conference held at the Emmanuel Centre is due to reveal plans for a future general election. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has said that the BBC’s “days are numbered” after the British broadcaster introduced charges for over-75s and its biased coverage of recent events such as the Black Lives Matter disorder.

On Thursday, the BBC announced that it would follow through on its plans to start charging pensioners over the age of 75 to watch television through the compulsory £157.50-a-year TV licence.

Mr Farage condemned the move, saying: “You can’t give something to people and take it away. It makes the BBC look mean and mean spirited. My guess would be there will be a fair number of over-75s who are naturally law-abiding, afraid of the authorities, probably pretty hard up, and many will struggle to pay this.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance also criticised the charge, saying it “shows the Beeb would rather fleece pensioners than cut its wasteful diversity budgets and top star salaries”. Late last month, the BBC announced that it was going to invest £100 million to produce more “diverse and inclusive content”.

The BBC has come under criticism for its coverage of the Marxist Black Lives Matter UK protests, which quickly turned violent in the early weeks of June. After one weekend in London that saw 27 Metropolitan Police police officers injured, the public broadcaster described the demonstrations are “largely peaceful”, giving rise to the ‘Defund the BBC’ campaign.

Farage slammed the BBC for its part in portraying the UK as a “seething cesspit of racists and bigots” as it platformed the Marxist movement’s narratives.

The Brexit Party leader said on Thursday: “There is a broader point: trust in the BBC, according to the Reuters Institute, has fallen by another 20 per cent since 2018. There is a massive change going on in this country. Whilst the BBC may be respected all over the world, and whilst the World Service may do a good job, the BBC with every crisis that we face shows it to be totally London-centric, as far away from middle England as ever it could possibly be.

“I think its days are numbered. I think the idea that we’re all going to go on paying over £150 a year for this thing is for the birds. It’ll take time for it to go because the status quo is a very powerful thing. Trust in the BBC is disappearing. I think what you’re going to see are media challengers to the BBC and others that will spring up over the course of the next year or two.”

In the United Kingdom, anyone who watches live broadcasting must pay for the BBC’s TV licence, even if they do not consume any BBC material. Nearly 200,000 Britons have already cancelled their television licence, with young people switching off ‘Auntie’ and tuning in to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Most Britons say they do not trust BBC journalists to tell the truth, with some two-thirds thinking the broadcaster is biased. A Civitas study from 2018 found that Eurosceptic voices had been suppressed over the years on the Today programme, BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme.

Half of Britons think that the BBC should earn its own money either through advertising or a subscription service, while another poll had said that nearly three-quarters of Britons want the TV licence abolished entirely.

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