Viewers who cancelled their TV licence fee in response to a day of controversy for the BBC have said they feel the corporation has “sold its soul”.
Friday saw Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker asked to step back from presenting the show, Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce accused of trivialising domestic abuse and claims the BBC pulled an episode of a new Sir David Attenborough series out of fears of a political backlash.
Among several Twitter users posting pictures proving they had cancelled their monthly direct debits for their TV licence fee was learning and disabilities support worker Simone Gordon.
— Simone Gordon (@ShimonaGordon) March 10, 2023
“I have felt for a while that there has been bias towards the Government shown by the BBC in its news coverage,” the 42-year-old from Lincoln told the PA news agency.
“The treatment of Gary Lineker this week confirmed what I feared.
“Fiona Bruce describing Stanley Johnson in last night’s Question Time hitting his wife ‘just the once’ seemed further proof of this.
“The BBC’s decision not to broadcast (Sir) David Attenborough’s episode in case it offended right-wing viewers was the final straw.
“I had to cancel my TV licence otherwise I would feel that I would be supporting their agenda.”
The BBC has defended Bruce, stating she was voicing the context of domestic abuse allegations made towards Stanley Johnson, former prime minister Boris Johnson’s father, and also claimed there “was no sixth episode” of Sir David’s Wild Isles.
Ms Gordon said she has set up a direct debit for the amount of money she was paying towards the licence fee to go to the RSPB, a charity which helped to produce the contested sixth episode of Sir David’s show, Saving Our Wild Isles, which is about restoring biodiversity in the UK.
“I think the BBC has sold its soul – the once great public service broadcaster is now in my view nothing more than a mouthpiece for the most right-wing British government ever to hold office,” said Ms Gordon, a Labour voter.
“Shame on them. The BBC is not, in my view, impartial anymore.”
Angela Riley, an outdoor nursery manager from Edinburgh, Scotland, shared a Guardian article about the controversy surrounding Sir David’s documentary series on Twitter, stating: “That’s it – monthly TV Licence cancelled until further notice.
“I can no longer in good faith continue to fund the slow but relentless assault on the integrity of the BBC by this (Conservative) government.”
The 42-year-old, who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, told the PA news agency the events on Friday were “a step too far”.
“I lived through years of an apartheid South Africa and saw first hand how the state’s media was used for political gain and to stir up hatred amongst its citizens,” she said.
“You can’t ever downplay the influence and responsibly the media has, to coin a phrase from (CNN news anchor) Christiane Amanpour, to be ‘truthful, not neutral.’
“Sadly, this for me is a step too far. The final nail in the coffin.”