Saturday, 13 September 2008

Noel Edmonds Boycotts The TV Licence

Noel Edmonds, known for his presenting roles on Deal or No Deal and Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year Old?, is boycotting the TV licence. But it's not for the reason you might think.

In the UK television owners must pay a yearly fee which goes towards funding the BBC. The BBC offers us the chance to enjoy high quality radio, television and news without advertising and without commercial influence. Stephen Fry has a wonderful speech which says what I'd want to say on why the BBC, and thus the licence fee, is important but says it with more style, wit and intelligence than I ever could.

However many in this country sadly don't agree with such an enforced fee and often refuse to pay. This has lead to some rather dark and menacing adverts from the BBC threatening non payees.

Mr Edmonds has taken offense not with the fee itself, which he thinks is actually brilliant value, but with the tactics employed to enforce payments and the lack of positive encouragement such as highlighting the benefits of maintaining the BBC.

I do agree with him. It's time organisations in this country stopped stooping to the same level as the nasty people who exist all around us and instead inspired people to do the right thing. However the licensing authority has begun a consultation on collection and hopefully people will make it clear they expect a more positive approach in the future.

I suspect Noel Edmonds made this announcement only to get more publicity for his new television show, and refusing to pay the licence is hardly a positive move. Perhaps he might instead do what he preaches and rather than run a negative campaign against the licence fee collectors, he should run a positive campaign encouraging engagement with the consultation. Just a thought.

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