A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Christa Ackroyd, a former BBC presenter who was paid through her own personal service company (PSC) and who left the BBC very abruptly five years ago. Ms. Ackroyd has since been given a £419,000 tax bill by HMRC because the tax man said that she should have been an employee of the BBC.
Many current and former BBC journalists and presenters accuse the corporation of forcing them to use PSC's. This morning it was the turn of Liz Kershaw, Kirsty Lang, Paul Wise, and Stuart Linnell.Read more
Christa Ackroyd used to be part of the fixtures and fittings at BBC Look North in Leeds. Sitting next to Harry Gration on the Look North sofa, she must have interviewed thousands of guests - me included. Suddenly, five years ago she was abruptly ousted from her place on the sofa, never to return again.
She was accused of being a tax dodger because she was not employed by the BBC. She was instead paid through her own personal service company (PSC). Yes, her tax liability was lowered by not being employed, but the BBC also benefited because it didn't have to pay employer's national insurance contributions, holiday pay and sick pay.Read more
This campaign, as its name suggests, campaigns against the TV licence. We do, from time to time, criticise the BBC when we think it deserves it. Today, however, we are going to praise the BBC for honestly reporting news from Egypt.
Last week the BBC broadcast a report that addressed torture and the repression of dissent in Egypt. Press freedom is not high on the list of priorities for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi (pictured left). Keeping a grip on power is right at the top. Although the presidential election is taking place this year, he has managed to manoeuvre all opponents out of the way and he is the only candidate.Read more
I didn't spot this in The Times last week, otherwise I would have written about it sooner. Here's an excerpt:
'The BBC is making money by hiring out its studios to RT, the television channel controlled by Moscow. The state-owned network has been described by US intelligence officials as “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet”.Read more
The BBC dominates just about every market it enters, often at the expense of smaller companies. Now the BBC wants its iPlayer to dominate the the online TV market. It wants to compete against Netflix and Amazon.
Lord Hall, the Beeb's director general, has said that he wants the BBC to become "“the number one online TV service in the face of fierce competition”. The competition he is talking about derive their income from subscription and advertising. But of course, what he doesn't want is an end to the compulsory telly tax that gives the BBC the cash to embark on this expansionist plan.Read more
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Lord Pearson of Rannoch, a Freedom Association Council member, asked the following question in the House of Lords yesterday:
"To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Civitas publication The Brussels Broadcasting Corporation? and of the BBC's coverage of Brexit, set against its new Charter and guidelines."
(Click here to read the report)
The reply he received from Lord Aston of Hyde, a junior minister in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), was, as Lord Pearson said after hearing his response, bland:Read more
We now know that Gary Lineker, apprentice Socialist and presenter of Match of the Day, earns somewhere between £1,750,000-£1,799,000 a year. Chris Evans earns even more. On the flip side, I can't believe how the BBC is getting away with paying Andrew Neil so little (£200,000-£249,000) in comparison to someone like Huw Edwards, who gets paid £550,000-£599,000 a year. There is also a perceived gender pay gap. On his LBC show yesterday, Iain Dale asked Theresa May if Gary Lineker was worth ten Claire Baldings. That is a question that's going to hang around for a long time.Read more
The Sun has reported today that a cross-party group of MPs held a meeting with James Harding, Head of BBC News, earlier this week to discuss the corporation's anti-Brexit bias. Amongst those MPs attending were Kate Hoey, Philip Davies, and Ian Paisley Jr.
I looked at BBC bias in this post last week, so it is welcome news that some MPs have voiced their concern in a private meeting. It is shocking that BBC Radio 4 listeners are two and a half times more likely to hear a pro-EU speaker than an anti-EU one.
The BBC has issued a statement following the meeting, saying:
“BBC News listens to and reflects all points of view and remains committed to covering developments in a fair and impartial manner.”
In other words, no change.