Plans to expand Ofcom’s reach over the BBC have been branded a “window dressing” ploy by the Government by former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
Dorries joined Martin Daubney on GB News to discuss the media regulator gaining more powers over the broadcaster’s online services.
Under the plans, Ofcom will be able to take enforcement action if articles fail to reach relevant broadcast standards.
The former Tory MP does not feel the crackdown goes far enough to address perceived bias, and outlined why she believes it is a sign the licence fee is “here to stay”.
Nadine Dorries hit out at Rishi Sunak
GB NEWS / GETTY
“What was really covered up today is there was a review due to be launched about how the BBC is funded and the licence fee”, she said.
“That was delayed by Rishi Sunak over and over. It was blocked when he was chancellor.
“A few weeks ago in December, on a busy news day, the Government slipped out onto its website that it has launched a review, but it said the review was being undertaken by an independent panel of experts who they are yet to announce.
“What we can deduce from today is despite all these other announcements, with no backup on when it’s happening or where the accountability is, how are we going to know that Ofcom are holding the online presence of the BBC to account?
“As a result of the Government holding up the review, the licence fee is here to stay.
“I was told when I was Culture Secretary that it will take three years at least to bring a change about.
Cost of the BBC Licence Fee is being hiked later this year
A spokesperson for the corporation said it “welcomes” the debate on the licence fee’s future, as the BBC can “continue to thrive and deliver for audiences in the UK and around the world” as a result.
Dorries went on to hit out at the broadcaster for its number of prosecutions, and made a prediction for how the fee will change over time.
She told Daubney: “It will continue to rise. 3,500 prosecutions a month are taking place.
“The most vulnerable people will continue to be prosecuted for non-payment of the licence fee.
“This has been buried by this window dressing from Ofcom today.”
The BBC has defended itself on the issue of impartiality, claiming “no other organisation takes its commitment to impartiality more seriously”.
“We know this matters to audiences and the BBC continues to be the number one source for trusted news, with the highest scores for impartiality and accuracy,” they said.
The spokesperson added they are “pleased” the government’s investigation into the corporation has found that the broadcaster’s regulation is “working well”.