Broadcaster Andrew Marr defends BBC licence fee

Andrew Marr, a BBC journalist, has justified the licensing fee. He maintains that he works for a government supported broadcaster, which renders him unbiased.

The old political reporter said he had a decent audience for his Sunday morning series, The Andrew Marr Show, comprising of people from around the political spectrum.

The government plans to increase the TV license fee to finance the BBC by way of subscriptions from the public in recent media stories.

Marr indicated that a subscription model would be controversial with competitors including Sky, Netflix, for example, which charge a monthly rate and further rivalry would be needed.

"It's definitely a massive concern when it comes to the licensing price," said Marr.

"I believe there is a greater intellectual divide at the moment, any time I go to the The Andrew Marr Show, I recall people watching from Ukip and Ukip and Momentum and Corbynites, they were passionate, and all about them.

"They all paid a licensing fee and would own part of me in a sense and so my job is to strive in some way to be honest and frank."

He said he worried for "a particular friendship" if the B.Bc. had viewers. He was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival interactive.

"People might hate or oppose my questions, but I have given my bit to the BBC if they've finished the show and they say, 'He does his hardest to keep things equal,'" said Marr.

"It's quite a separate partnership if I'm worried of people who pay the subscription – clients.

"That concerns me, I agree.

I assume there is justification to offer something that is not strictly industrial, whether it be a licensing fee or any other sort of public support.

"I should focus and note that, not just those who pay the monthly subscription, the BBC belongs to everyone."

The current BBC General Manager Tim Davie has been described by Marr to be "a hardy guy."

"I don't really well know him and a few times I saw him, just before I got a job I recognized him with credibility," he said.

"He knows very well the challenging economic situation in which BBC operates because of its commercial operation."

Lord Hall, who has been in this position for seven years, has taken over the job Davie in a tumultuous BBC.

The broadcaster is subject to vigilance for fair compensation, integration, over-75 free broadcasting permits, online channels like Netflix and the current coronavirus epidemic.

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