There is a deeper and more troubling context here. By sending the message to law-abiding Muslims that they are excluded from the simple privileges enjoyed by all other British people, we risk encouraging rather than suppressing extremism.
But vandalising the very concept of a public service broadcasting - with its mission to be creative, inclusive, intellectually curious and journalistically challenging - doesn't get you a smaller, leaner BBC. It gets you Rai - a still expensive, monolithic structure that is very much less than the sum of its parts.
It really is up to you. We know what the government wants. We know what the BBC's rivals want. The only people who can stop them are the people who use the BBC, and value it, day in and day out. That means you.
The BBC has many fans and many adversaries. Those who'd like to see it change include other media outlets, led by Sky and the Mail, and right-wing politicians who believe that Auntie is stuffed with Guardian-reading granola eaters (although it is always worth noting that some on the left see her as fundamentally reactionary).
The key argument seems to be that it these stations lack 'distinctiveness'. The shorthand we often hear - Radios 3 and 4 embody public service broadcasting whilst Radios 1 and 2 are easily replaced by commercial counterparts - is wrong. Take Radio 1. It informs, educates and entertains 10million young listeners a week. It offers daily news (up to six times more news per week than its commercial competitors), regular documentaries (rarely heard on commercial networks) and social action campaigns, highlighting issues like online bullying and teenage suicide. In fact, we estimate around 40% of Radio 1's daytime output is speech - twice as much as comparable commercial outlets.
You sit back in your armchair, pick up the television remote control and click the screen on. After a moment of warming up, the picture displays itself into your house, with the volume slightly too loud from the last time you were watching telly, and you hurriedly press the minus key to try and get the sound to pipe down a bit. It only works after you smack the batteries on the back and jab a little bit of life into them...
The whole point of the BBC is that politicians should only meddle with it on very rare occasions. Yes, it is accountable to the public through parliament, and yes the charter renewal process gives ministers a moment of great power over the Corporation. But we should remain worried about Whittingdale's self-confessed free market conservativeness.
The BBC does not belong to its staff. The BBC does not belong to the Government. The BBC belongs to the country. The public are our shareholders - they pay for us. So it is their voice that will matter most in this debate. And what the public wants is a continually better BBC. So that will be our test for any future proposals. Will audiences be even happier with what they get from us? Is the BBC still able to give them the best output in the world? Have we helped the creative industries grow? That, to me, is the real debate - and the only debate that really matters.
Dear George, I've had a chance to digest your new budget and it seems clear to me that you are the one politician who is in sympathy with me and my issues. I too have bitter enemies who I wish to undermine and destroy by any means necessary, regardless of the impact on anyone else. So here are my problems, George, maybe you can help me.
Last Sunday night, DISH Network viewers who pay monthly US$9.95 to watch weekly four back-to-back episodes were rudely alerted to the news that EastEnders would not be available.
Had the corporation kept BBC3 on television - where the audience can easily access it - it would have a stronger fighting chance. There is so much content the BBC produces but not all of it gets an evening television slot. Imagine a TV channel that repurposes the videos from Radio 1's Live Lounge, the extensive archive of live festival coverage, and productions by independent writers and producers... But what do I know?
I had the pleasure of debating British history last weekend on the BBC Sunday Morning Live Show with lecturer and historian Kate Williams, editor of B...
Year on year, the amount of time set aside to covering Glastonbury seems to increase. The Worthy Farm extravaganza also seemed to appear in every news bulletin. Undoubtedly it is the UK's most famous music festival, but that is all it is. A music festival. Singers performing on a stage in front of thousands of people is not a news item.
"A foster carer treats you like family, like their own children."
If more people are going to see films like 'A Sinner in Mecca' then we need the world of religious documentaries to evolve. So is there a potential for religious documentaries to go online? Yes!
This is a review of a BBC television series so good, so expertly plotted, so professionally edited, and performed by such talented actors and actresse...