Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oostveen's oomph...

Erik Oostveen is a Dutch telecoms engineer who started a personal protest against the BBC soon after moving to the UK eight years ago. He is at the forefront of a growing 'community' behind the campaign against the BBC's licence fee. You may think it odd that someone who not only uses the BBC website a lot but who also lives abroad (me!) gets involved but, like Erik, my mother received several intimidating letters from TV Licensing (TVL, this is a private company that collects the fee on behalf of the BBC) demanding that she pay the fee...despite her not having a TV!! The letters continued despite her attempts to explain the issue.

"'The BBC is creating fear,' he says. "The letters have a harsh tone and even if you tell them you don’t watch live broadcasts they may still send someone round to check. That says: we don’t trust you; you’re breaking the law."

For that reason alone I commend Erik's campaign because he "was being forced to pay for a service I hadn't asked for and didn't want". Erik then disconnected and detuned his TV and stopped paying. "Resisting the BBC terror tactics": We're like the suffragettes, say a growing group of TV fee refuseniks [The Times]

Oostveen has set up a website,, which campaigns for the abolition of the licence.

I'm sure that a number of people wouldn't mind if the BBC wasn't so high and mighty and paying themselves bigbucks at the taxpayers' expense. Another campign member said: "A TV tax shouldn’t exist. Debates aren’t working, lobbying MPs doesn’t work, so small people like us are making a difference. This is civil disobedience. I’m doing what the suffragettes once did."

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