Mark Thompson: 'I would rather abolish the BBC than charge for news online'

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BBC director general Mark Thompson has ruled out easing News International’s planned transition to paid-for online content by charing for BBC news online.

He told The Guardian: “I would rather the BBC was abolished than we started encrypting news to stop people seeing it.”

But he said that a stragic review of the corporation, which due to deliver recommendations early next year, will lead to “narrower services”.

He said that the ownership of magazines and commercial division Worldwide is under review.

Defending pay at the BBC – Thompson claimed that staff accept a “discount” on their salary to work for the corporation.

And responding to widespread criticism of the BBC in the rest of the media in recent months, Thompson said: “The rest of the British media have come to see the BBC as a direct competitive threat in a way they never used to. I think it’s fair to say that that’s colouring their coverage of the BBC.”

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