Tories would close BBC website…

08/26/2003

I’m going to just report this without much in the way of comment while I try and work out what my professional relationship with the BBC means about my ability to give my personal opinion about things like this: Tories would close BBC website.

The Conservative party would switch off a swath of the BBC’s digital services, including its website and the youth channel BBC3, if it won the next general election.

The party’s culture spokesman, John Whittingdale, told Guardian Unlimited Politics he was “not persuaded” of the case for a public service website and that he was “not convinced the BBC needs to do all the things it is doing at the present”, including providing “more and more channels”.

“As a free-market Conservative, I will only support a nationalised industry if I’m persuaded that that is the only way to do it and if it were not nationalised it would not happen.”

Mr Whittingdale’s comments will be seen within the BBC as a glimpse of what it can expect from the Tories’ review of the corporation. The party launched the review, chaired by the outspoken former chief executive of Channel Five, David Elstein, earlier this year.

[He continued] “…I am not persuaded that there is necessarily a case for a public service website. I’m not persuaded that anything on the BBC site could not be provided elsewhere, [for instance] the newspapers are mostly providing sites, which provide news and comment.

“They [the newspaper sites] are essentially trying to provide for the same market and therefore you can argue why does the licence fee payers need to be financing the BBC to do it when there are other commercial organisations who are doing the same thing.”

I’m just going to leave this one open to general opinion, I think. If you’ve got any thoughts or comments, then leave them below…