LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday questioned why the BBC should continue to be supported by an annual fee paid by all viewing households, one of the biggest hints to date that the funding of Britain’s main news provider could be upended.

The BBC, funded by what is in effect a 154.50-pound ($198) annual “licence fee” tax on all television-watching households, has a central presence in British cultural life, with its TV, radio and online content reaching 92 percent of the population.

When asked by a member of the public on the campaign trail ahead of Thursday’s election if he would abolish the licence fee, Johnson said he was under pressure not to “extemporise policy on the hoof”.

“At this stage we are not planning to get rid of all TV licence fees, although I am certainly looking at it,” Johnson said.

“You have to ask yourself whether that kind of approach to funding a TV, a media organisation makes sense in the long-term, given the way other organisations manage to fund themselves,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019