British Broadcasting Corporation

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The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public corporation of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, established in 1927 under a Royal Charter. It operates under its Agreement with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The BBC is regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office, which is sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. OfCom, the Office of Communications, is the UK’s broadcasting, telecommunications and postal regulatory body.


The BBC is primarily funded by an annual television licence fee which is charged to all British households, companies, and organisations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts and iPlayer catch-up. The licence fee is classified as a tax, and its evasion is a criminal offence. The fee is set by the govt, and agreed by Parliament.

About 25% of the BBC's income comes from BBC Studios Ltd, its commercial arm, which sells programmes and services internationally and also distributes BBC World News, an international 24-hour English-language news service.

Propaganda and Manufacturing Consent

  • Mar.15.2018: Sneer and Smear... As an arm of the corporate state, the BBC is naturally charged with certain vital propaganda tasks in the service of Western elite power. For example, there is the need for that Western elite power to seem at all times legitimate, accountable and well-intentioned. Then there is the need for that Western elite’s murderous military violence to seem necessary, just and proportionate. A paragraph-by-paragraph deconstruction of how it works: it's all about the language. Mark Doran, Mark Doran's Blog.
  • Feb.10.2018: Syriana... The BBC's coverage of the West's dirty war on Syria has reached a level of manipulative dishonesty that deserves to be called obscene. As you read, note the way that the interviewer (the increasingly ridiculous but seemingly immovable John Humphrys) and his warmongering militarist (deeply humane and caring) interviewee happily conspire — by means of an impressive web of shared lies and agreed omissions — to reinforce a narrative about Syria which, privileging as it does the Western neo-imperial project, places the discussion *radically at odds with reality*. This garbage, ladies and gentlemen, is *what you are paying for*. Mark Doran, Mark Doran's Blog.


  • May.11.2018: BBC rejects complaints that Newsnight made Corbyn look 'more Russian'. Decision to show photo of Labour leader in ‘Lenin-style cap’ in front of Moscow skyline was ‘based on sound news judgment’. The BBC has formally rejected complaints that its Newsnight programme Photoshopped an image of Jeremy Corbyn to make him look “more Russian”, insisting that the programme’s use of the picture was “impartial and fair”. Nadia Khomami, The Guardian.
  • Apr.09.2018: BBC Radio 4 broke accuracy rules in Nigel Lawson climate change interview. BBC Radio 4 broke accuracy rules by failing to sufficiently challenge the climate change denier Nigel Lawson’s controversial claims in an interview, OfCom, the broadcasting watchdog has ruled. Interview was conducted by the presenter Justin Webb. Lawson, a former chancellor of the exchequer in Margaret Thatcher’s govt, made claims including that “all the experts say there hasn’t been” an increase in extreme weather events. He said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “concedes” this, and that, according to official figures, “during this past 10 years … average world temperature has slightly declined”. The BBC said it had publicly acknowledged that “some of Lord Lawson’s statements went beyond the intended scope of the interview and he was allowed to make inaccurate assertions which should have been challenged”. Ofcom was not impressed that a previous appearance on the Today programme in 2014 by Lawson, who founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation, resulted in an internal BBC investigation and ruling that found the same failure to properly challenge his views. Mark Sweney, The Guardian. See also The Canary
  • Apr.06.2018: Even centrists like Andrew Adonis are losing faith in the BBC over Brexit. The Blairite peer Lord Adonis has been trouncing the BBC on Twitter, claiming it is biased in favour of Brexit, and the journalist Peter Jukes has announced he will be boycotting the BBC for its use of the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes as a news source. The BBC is facing a crisis. It is fast losing political friends and risks slipping into irrelevancy as tech oligarchies come to dominate our digital future. ...BBC is consistently pro-government in its news reporting. This has been taking place in a context in which conservative figures have held key editorial positions at the BBC. Andrew Neil and Sarah Sands, James Harding, who recently stood down as director of news, and Nick Gibb, who moved from BBC political programming to 10 Downing Street, to name a few. The Media Reform Coalition has recently published a set of draft proposals on the future of the BBC, produced by a working group I chaired. We argue that the BBC needs to break with its statist model and become a digital public network and platform, but also that all and any governmental influence over the BBC must be abolished, with the BBC instead being democratised and radically decentralised. Tim Mills, The Independent.
  • Apr.05.2018: BBC newspaper review: scrutiny of the government is treason. Even when a govt minister has been caught out lying, the BBC are bitterly attacking the political opposition for holding him to account. As Alex Nunns pointed out, the propaganda messages the BBC are sending out here are "believe your government, even when it lies" and "scrutiny is treachery". If we look at what Jeremy Corbyn actually said, another thing becomes clear. Corbyn didn't "take the word of the Russian govt" at all. What he did was take the word of the British Porton Down chemical weapons experts, and then point out the total incompatibility of what they said with what Boris Johnson claimed they had said. Thomas Clark, Another Angry Voice.
  • Mar.16.2018: Why are the BBC running blatant distraction propaganda for the Tory party? In Feb., the Tory party took a £30,000 donation from the wife of a former Finance minister in Vladimir Putin's govt. The donation was in fact a bribe to buy personal access to Tory defence minister Gavin Williamson; this is far from the only donation the Tories have taken from Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies. They've raked in over £800,000 since Theresa May became PM, and over £3m since 2010. The obvious question these donations raise is what are these Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies buying with these donations. People don't just hand over vast sums of money for nothing, so they must be expecting some returns on their investments. Blocking and overturning Magnitsky powers (Anneliese Dodds on Twitter) has been described as Vladimir Putin's top foreign policy objective, so when the Tory party took the unprecedented step on Feb.27 of halting a committee meeting on the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill in order to avoid consideration of Magnitsky powers, just 3 weeks after taking a £30,000 bung from the wife of a known Putin associate, it's hard to draw any other conclusion isn't it? Aside from the incredible bombardment of reality-reversing propaganda portraying Corbyn as the "Russian stooge" when the money trail points clearly and undeniably at the Tory party, another interesting question comes out of all of this. If one of Putin's top foreign policy objectives is preventing Magnitsky powers, and the Tory party were gladly doing his bidding by brazenly obstructing political efforts to introduce these Magnitsky powers, why on earth would they jeopardise their main objective by launching an unprecedented chemical weapons attack on British soil against a retired spy they released from prison years ago? The other pertinent question is why almost the entire UK media has rounded on Jeremy Corbyn to misleadingly present him as some kind of Russian stooge when he's the one who has been pushing hard for Magnitsky powers, and completely let the Tories off the hook for their extremely dubious donations from Russian sources, followed just weeks later by their deliberate obstruction tactics to undermine the implementation of Magnitsky powers. Linkback: Conservative Party#Funding and Donations, Russia, Thomas G Clark, AnotherAngryVoice.
  • Jan.19.2018: I worked for the BBC for 20 years. I had cans of film ripped out of my hands by members of Thatcher's govt, items not aired after orders from Clarence House, govt, lawyers. In those days the BBC was hamstrung by those above, now, as it fights to survive, it's complicit. @MadSpadger, Twitter.
  • Sept.23.2017: You're watching BBC£ ...the more I have learned about the lives and histories and incomes of the people the BBC sees fit to promote to its most important and influential positions... Evan Davis, Sarah Montague, Mark Urban... I have had my attention drawn to the latest update of the UK Parliament's Register of Journalists' Interests. let’s consider one of the ‘big boys’, I refer to the sickening Andrew Neil (rest of article on Andrew Neil's page). Mark Doran, MarkDoran's Blog.
  • Oct.23.2017: Who's paying for these 'reports' on BBC Brexit coverage? Brexiters often accuse the British media of being biased towards remaining in the European Union. Especially the BBC. Research would appear to back up these accusations. But we have looked a bit closer at these studies and noticed a pattern – all the research is produced by a single tiny company that is explicitly anti-EU and whose funders include controversial businessman Arron Banks's Leave.EU. "News-Watch" style themselves as "media analysts", but seem mainly interested in one outlet and one story – the BBC and Brexit. Since being founded in 1999 by former BBC producer David Keighley, News-watch has published dozens of reports, pretty much all of them on the BBC’s coverage of the EU. Every story on News-watch's home page is avowedly pro-Brexit. As far as we can tell, all of the newspaper stories of BBC anti-Brexit bias are based on reports written by News-watch. (More on the News-watch page) Peter Geoghegan, Adam Ramsay, openDemocracy.
  • Jul.29.2016: Study exposes BBC’s deep anti-Corbyn bias. The London School of Economics recently published a report showing that uniformly the British press had misrepresented and denigrated Jeremy Corbyn from the moment he won the Labour Party leadership last year. 75% of articles “either distorted or failed to represent his actual views on subjects”. Worse, in only 11% of stories were his views fairly represented. In terms of tone, less than 10% of reports were judged as positive. The BBC’s performance is even more dismal than that of the press. Like the LSE report, the new research argues that “imbalanced reporting” has become so grave that it poses a serious threat to the democratic process. The graph shows that the BBC is failing to make even the most minimal efforts at even-handedness. Many have argued that the BBC’s chief political reporter, Laura Kuenssberg, has been acting more like a spokeswoman for Tory Central Office (or for the Parliamentary Labour Party) than a dispassionate journalist. Now we have the definitive proof. Jonathan Cook Blog.

Licence Fees

    • TV Licensing is a trade mark of the BBC and is used under licence by companies contracted by the BBC to administer the collection of the television licence fee and enforcement of the television licensing system. The BBC is a public authority in respect of its television licensing functions and retains overall responsibility.
    • Responsibilities of TV Licensing contracted companies:
      • Capita Business Services Ltd, Administration and enforcement of the TV Licence fee
      • PayPoint plc, Over-the-counter payment services in the UK mainland and in Northern Ireland
      • Post Office, Over-the-counter payment services in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
      • Proximity London Ltd, Marketing and printing services.
      • Havas Media, Media services.
  • Jan.12.2019: Loss of free TV licence could push over-75s into poverty – charity. Thousands of older people could be forced to cut back on heating or food, Age UK warns. The broadcaster opened a consultation last year on whether to start charging older people the £150.50-a-year fee. Free TV licences for the over-75s were introduced by the last Labour government in 2000 in an attempt to reduce pensioner poverty. However, under a deal struck by the Conservatives in 2015, the BBC agreed to pick up the bill, a move that saved the government money but left the broadcaster facing a substantial extra cost burden of about £750m a year. Jim Waterson, The Guardian.
  • Apr.14.2016: How does the BBC spend its £3.7bn in licence fee money? (Excellent graphics + graphs) Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who was long one of the BBC's most outspoken critics, told Parliament: "At its best, the BBC sets international standards of quality, even in a multimedia age its most popular programs continued to draw the country together in a shared experience, as happened with the Olympics and the dramas Sherlock". Ashley Kirk, The Telegraph.

Question Time

  • Feb.09.2018: BBC Question Time. Which, as I keep reminding you, is bought in from an external production company, and isn't actually made by the BBC. Mark Doran, Mark Doran's blog.
  • Nov.04.2017: There has surely been no programme more damaging to UK democracy than Question Time. Whatever row one looks at, one sees a plant. And when it comes to the guests on the panel, it's pretty much a running joke in media-analysis circles that, week after week, the "selection of prominent and influential figures" turns out to contain a veritable chimps' tea-party of atavistic right-wing opinion. Mark Doran, Mark Doran's blog.

The Hutton Inquiry

  • Jul.23.2003: Blair puts Hoon on spot with Kelly denial. Geoff Hoon was left politically isolated last night after Tony Blair refused to accept personal responsibility for naming David Kelly, the govt scientist who was found dead last week. The Prime Minister's denial also heightened pressure on Alastair Campbell, his director of communications, who is believed to have played a decisive role in the identification of Dr Kelly. Gilligan used the meeting with Dr Kelly as the basis for reports claiming that Downing Street "sexed up" intelligence on the threat from Saddam Hussein. Andrew Sparrow, The Telegraph.

Gender Pay Gap


Conflicts of Interest


  • Dec.22.2018: BBC uses loophole to hide spending on new Sounds app. The BBC has been accused of masking scrutiny of how it spends income from the licence fee by abusing a loophole in Freedom of Information legislation. It has blocked attempts by parliamentarians to obtain information on the cost of promoting its new Sounds audio app by claiming the data is exempt from transparency rules. Matthew Moore, The Times.
  • Aug.23.2018: Jeremy Corbyn tax on web giants would fund the BBC. The Labour leadership has repeatedly accused mainstream media, including the BBC, of failing to give the party a fair hearing. Mr Corbyn’s detailed proposals to overhaul the broadcaster represent his most dramatic intervention into media policy. He would demand that it become more accountable to the public. He will propose stripping the govt of its power to appoint the BBC board, suggesting that BBC staff elect the executive directors while licence-fee payers vote for its non-executive directors. ... a new independent body setting the licence fee, ... a “digital licence fee” on global technology giants such as Google and Facebook ... Tories attacked the plans as an “internet tax”. James Cleverly, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said that the idea showed that Labour “simply don’t know how to handle the economy”. In addition, Mr Corbyn is considering a separate windfall tax on digital monopolies such as Google to support a new public interest journalism fund. Matthew Moore, The Times.
  • Apr.12.2018: Coverage of raid on Cliff Richard's home was in public interest, BBC tells court. Singer seeks damages at high court over coverage of police operation related to sexual assault claim. BBC coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard’s home in 2014 – filmed from a helicopter hovering overhead – was accurate and a “matter of legitimate public interest”, its lawyers have told the high court. The high-profile dispute over privacy and the boundaries of press freedom revolves around how the corporation reported the investigation into a historical sexual assault claim against the 77-year-old singer. Owen Bowcott, The Guardian.
  • Mar.06.2018: Presenters Paul Lewis and Rev Richard Coles fight BBC tax clawback. Campaign by 170 BBC presenters against the corporation's new tax crackdown. They are challenging how the corporation is imposing rules intended to limit the use of personal service companies (PSCs) to minimise tax liabilities. Some are being pursued for six-figure Income tax and National Insurance bills by HM Revenue and Customs on the grounds that they were in effect BBC employees while claiming to be freelancers. Many members of the group allege that they were pressured into setting up personal service companies by the BBC so that it could avoid making employer’s national insurance contributions. Matthew Moore, The Times.





  • Oct.27.2012: Jimmy Savile: BBC policy chief accused of misleading MPs. The BBC's crisis over Jimmy Savile has intensified after accusations that the corporation's head of editorial standards David Jordan knowingly misled parliament. He had issued inaccurate public statements concerning the nature of Newsnight's Jimmy Savile sex abuse investigation, but he did so before he had been told about the true nature of the programme by its producer, Meirion Jones. BBC sources say that his version is incorrect. They claim instead that Jordan repeated misleading statements about the programme's investigation after he had been warned by Jones that his account was wrong. Sources within the BBC newsroom said it was concerning that Jordan, who had sat alongside director general George Entwistle during last week's challenging Select Committee appearance, should have committed such an error. Although Entwistle has offered a "profound and heartfelt apology" to victims, a number of whom were allegedly abused on BBC premises, lawyers believe it does not go far enough. Meanwhile, the NSPCC said calls were still "coming in thick and fast" and showed little sign of abating. Child abuse lawyer Trevor Sterling added: "From what we've heard there were others working in association with Jimmy Savile; there have been many stories of people, for example, taking children to his dressing room. What's emerging now is the suggestion that there was a more formalised ring." His comments corroborate the latest findings from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood whose chief executive, Pete Saunders, described "an element of widespread organisation" regarding abuse at the BBC. Mark Townsend, Vanessa Thorpe, The Guardian.