I’m disappointed to see that the committee set up by the Tynwald (the Manx parliament) to review the TV licence fee paid by the island’s citizens to the British state broadcaster, the BBC, has recommended that the payments should continue. This is despite the fact that the BBC makes virtually no provision for Mann in any of its broadcast or online services: services the Manx people are paying for.
Yet again the political, and cultural cowardice, of some in the Manx political establishment leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
The Isle of Man has no state broadcasting service, for either television or radio, but instead relies on the British media cartels, the BBC, ITV, etc. to supply all its needs. The result is a country almost entirely lacking in any sort of public service media (or the shared culture and sense of identity that can be derived from that). A gesture was made to set up a Manx-based TV channel, through the passing of enabling legislation by the Tynwald, but by all accounts no real attempt was made to encourage a serious provider to apply for the broadcast licence.
The people of the Isle of Man deserve better from the Manx government than to be thrown the leftovers of the BBC – especially when they are so pitiful. A Manx public broadcasting service, funded by but independent of the state, operating as a multimedia platform, and in both English and Manx is not a luxury but a necessity that Mann can no longer afford to ignore.