Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Saturday, 18 March 2017

BBC Slammed for Allowing Paedophile to Recount Crimes Live on Air

The BBC Trust said the makers of a radio programme made "a most serious error of judgement" by allowing a convicted paedophile to boast live on air about abusing his two young daughters.

The deviant, who claimed to be in prison, called Allan Beswick's Late Night Phone-In on the evening of 1st March. The programme is broadcast four times a week in the BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Lancashire areas.

Normal protocols were not followed and the abuser ended up live on air with the 68-year-old presenter. The producer, who should have been listening closely to the programme's output, was so engrossed in preparing a news summary that he failed to realise anything was amiss until four minutes into the call. Even then, for whatever reason, the producer failed to terminate the call and the conversation went on for almost another minute.

During the conversation the convicted nonce recounted his crimes, saying: "Both my daughters enjoyed sex with me when they were eight years old, with full consent and knowledge of their mother."

He then went on to explain how he was "doing a public service" by making child sex DVDs because "there are a lot of professional people paying good money to watch DVDs of children having sex".

Eventually, after almost five minutes of distressing conversation, Beswick terminated the call by saying "you're vile, get off".

Several subsequent callers told Beswick how upset they had been listening to the paedophile's comments.

Beswick made the following apology during the following evening's show: "If you were listening last night, you might have heard from a caller who made a number of grossly offensive comments.

"Now, I've listened back to what he said and I've discussed the matter with people that I trust, and I'm now convinced that I shouldn't have allowed the call to continue.

"I should have ended it sooner. A lot sooner. So I apologise for that. And I apologise because I think you're entitled to expect rather better from me."

A BBC spokesperson said: "This was completely unacceptable and clearly broke our strict editorial guidelines. A full, on air apology was made.

"All those involved recognise it was wrong to broadcast such offensive content.

"We have already reviewed and strengthened our procedures and provided additional training and supervision."

You can read the findings of the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee here.

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Saturday, 11 March 2017

TV Licensing Interviewing Procedures

The following is a TV Licensing Blog guest post:

Of all the reprehensible things done by TV Licensing, I find their doorstep interviews are by far the most worrying because this is where the "evidence" is obtained that convicts people. TV Licensing claim that their interviews are conducted in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 ("PACE") and the PACE Codes of Practice.

Back in October I requested a copy of TV Licensing's procedure for conducting interviews under caution. The BBC responded with a heavily redacted document. [view here] I challenged the need for so many redactions, pointing out that the BBC's justification for the number of redactions was seriously flawed. After a lot of delays I got back a less redacted copy of the interview procedures. [view here]

These reveal that TV Licensing like to overlook some of the rights that are set out in PACE:

1. There is no mention of the fact that interviewees are entitled to legal advice before, during and after interviews. TV Licensing maintain that because their goons do not have arrest powers they don't need to inform interviewees of this right. I disagree with this idea and so did the Home Office when this question was put to them, but even if TV Licensing are right, it is still worrying that goons are not even told that this right exists.

2. There is no mention of the need to ensure that vulnerable interviewees (e.g. anyone suffering from mental health problems) have an appropriate adult (a parent, carer or social worker) present when they are being interviewed. This is worrying given that vulnerable people are more likely to be coerced into signing a confession by am aggressive or manipulative goon.

3. There is no mention of the need for people who don't speak English as a first language to be given access to an interpreter. We know there have been cases where foreign nationals have been tricked into signing confessions they didn't understand.

TV Licensing's interview procedures also reveal some interesting facts about their processes.

1. An interview can only be completed once.
"A VO should not return to an address after completing a Record of Interview as this could prejudice any potential prosecution."

2. Search warrants are not an information gathering tool.
"It must be remembered that a search warrant cannot be used to gather other information, like names or dates of birth (see Chapter Ten - Search Warrant Procedure)."

3. Computer viewing of live broadcasts (and presumably BBC iPlayer) can only be evidenced if the occupant admits to it.
"The VO should obtain sufficient evidence from questioning the interviewee, to be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the computer is being used to watch or record “live” TV programmes."

All of this reinforces what we already knew: TV Licensing rely on confessions to convict people that don't have a TV licence (whether they are an evader or legally licence free makes no difference to them) and to maximise the number of confessions they rely on using a procedure that does not really conform to PACE. This also reinforces the fact that not communicating with TV Licensing is the best way to avoid ending up in court. Anyone that is facing a prosecution where the main piece of evidence against them is a confession may be able to use TV Licensing's lack of PACE compliant interviewing procedures as part of their defence though.

TV Licensing Blog comment: We are grateful to Bureaucrat of the TV Licence Resistance forums for providing this article.

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

BBC Boss Bulford Reiterates Idea of Voluntary Over-75 TV Licence Payments

The Deputy Director General of the BBC, Anne Bulford, has reiterated the idea of allowing those currently in receipt of a "free" over-75 TV licence to make a voluntary financial contribution.

Under current arrangements any household with an occupant aged 75 or older is entitled to a "free" TV licence, which is actually paid for by the Department and Work and Pensions. The total cost of these TV licences is around £750m per year.

Under the terms of the BBC's recently-renewed Royal Charter, the national broadcaster will begin shouldering some of the cost from 2018/19. The BBC will be fully responsible for funding the over-75 TV licence from 2020/21, so naturally wants to do so as cheaply as possible.

At the start of 2016 we wrote an article explaining how the BBC was planning to wheel out a load of coffin-dodging celebrities to front a new campaign aimed at encouraging over-75s to pay for a TV licence they would normally be entitled to for "free".

Nothing more was mentioned of the idea until a few days ago, when Bulford spoke at the Media and Telecoms Conference in London.

You can read Bulford's full speech here.

The transcript does not mention the idea of voluntary payments towards BBC output, so we assume it was something she mentioned during questioning afterwards.

According to The Sun, Bulford told conference delegates: "Voluntary payment is certainly something that we are interested in looking at."

Try as we might, we just can't imagine over-75s flocking to pay for a TV licence when they know the public purse will pay it for them.

In our opinion a lot of over-75s view the "free" TV licence as something they are entitled to by divine right, having "paid into the system for years". It's the same with the winter fuel allowance and free bus travel. It would have been more sensible to make these perks of old age means tested in the first place, but the Government (or BBC) will struggle to win support if it changes the rules now.

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