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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 11:27 GMT
Murdoch attacks BBC fee increase
Rupert Murdoch
Mr Murdoch spoke to Radio Five Live's Weekend Business show
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch says the BBC should not be granted its request for an above-inflation licence fee rise.

The chairman of News Corporation - which owns The Sun and The Times newspapers - made the comments during an interview with BBC Radio Five Live.

He also said the BBC's ambitions amounted to "predatory competition" against other organisations.

The BBC's wants a 2.3% above-inflation increase to fund on-demand services and the switch to digital TV.

Threat

Mr Murdoch - who rarely gives interviews - was asked about his opinions on the BBC's ambitions and its request for the licence fee rise.

He said: "I can't believe what the BBC is doing with a lot of the surplus money it has.

I can't believe what the BBC is doing with a lot of the surplus money it has
Rupert Murdoch

"It's even starting websites against local newspapers all over the country. That's not necessary. They are not improving any services. They are trying to put out of business, it seems, a lot of small, medium-sized businessmen.

"Take News 24, it's fine but it's free. We struggled for years and made a small charge and we've also had to go free. In any other country, that is predatory competition."

But when asked whether he feared a fully-funded BBC was a threat to News Corporation he said: "No, but I don't know where it stops.

"It's a threat to everybody. They are always thinking of some new business to get into right away from broadcasting."

But former BBC director general Greg Dyke told Five Live Mr Murdoch would never understand the concept of a state-funded broadcaster.

"Australians and Americans have difficulty understanding the BBC, that we should collect two and a half-billion pounds in a sort of poll tax to fund a broadcasting system," he said.

"They don't understand it and Murdoch will never get it in a million years. He'll never concede that actually what it's produced is a better broadcasting system here that you get in the United States or in Australia."


SEE ALSO:
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