Steve Barnett is a media academic and a prominent defender of British broadcasting’s mythic quality and distinctiveness – and, of course, the licence fee. In his response to Barry Cox’s provocative free market demolition of the BBC’s protected status Barnett clings to the status quo. Since digital TV is a mess and analogue switch-off now in doubt, maybe we can leave everything exactly as it is:
“Should we really dismantle a whole regulatory and funding system in anticipation of technology take-up which is at best optimistic and at worst unfeasible?”
The tapestry of public service communications is worth defending but, if we’re going to sustain it into the digital and networked era we’ll need to do better than keeping our fingers crossed that it never happens!