Petition Westminster To Pass Legislation Forcing TV Companies To Detune BBC Services For The Purpose of EU Compliance
We the petitioners ask for the Wireless Telegraphy Act to be modified immediately and an opt out option to be written into UK law. We demand that the UK government modify the above act to pass into law an opt out clause that would see Television broadcast companies such as Sky and Virgin media (and other providers) modify their electronic programme guide systems to allow consumers to be able to switch off and prevent all BBC broadcasts from being viewable in that household. This would therefore, exempt the consumer from having to pay for a TV License and only those who wish to view BBC would fund it. We make this argument under EU law which is superior to UK Law. Currently the TV Licence is against EU Law. The reason for this is stated below. It should be the choice of the individual whether they wish to watch and indeed fund the BBC. TV Licensing (capita) relies on the Wireless Telegraphy Act in order to collect and enforce TV licence fees and to fund the BBC. This act is inferior to the European Communities Acts which have been in force since the 1970’s. These make European Community law superior to all other UK law including the criminal law. Community law is ultimately interpreted by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and its rulings are binding on the UK courts, being superior even to decisions of the House of Lords. Community law recognises a notion of European citizenship and obliges Member States to recognise and pro-actively uphold as well as refrain from breaching rights conferred on European citizens by the Community treaties. The citizen can uphold his/her rights derived therefrom by action in his national courts, and cannot be subjected to a criminal prosecution were that reduces the effectiveness of his Community fundamental rights. Such fundamental rights are to be found in the competition articles, in this case specifically Article 82 (my right as a consumer not to be abused by a dominant undertaking and from which there is no exemption) and Article 86 (which deals with the application of the competition rules and other Community rules to public undertakings such as the BBC). Under EU law the BBC is viewed as a public undertaking of the UK Member State, the TV Licence is viewed as a measure to fund that undertaking which amounts to an abuse of our right to consume from other competing private undertakings without being tied to purchasing the BBC’s product. (You are required to pay for a TV license therefore funding the BBC before you can take services e.g. sky which are in competition with the BBC) It does not matter that the UK Member State attempts to cast the licence as a charge on a TV set’s usage. What matters is that the BBC acts like a dominant undertaking, forcing us to buy its product before we can take a product from any of its competitors, that is the EFFECT of the Wireless Telegraphy Act, namely that it constitutes a ‘tying-in’ practice, a well known abuse. We must be permitted to consume from other providers of television products without first being obliged to take the BBC’s product and so the TV Licence must be discontinued at least in those cases where a consumer refrains from taking the BBC’s product. Essentially we are being subjected to the threat of prosecution by Capita (the private company that acts on behalf of the state to operate the TV License) if we fail to pay. It is a criminal offence arraigned against a competing claim of right by consumers arising from a superior body of law. It can never be a criminal offence to stick to an arguable claim of right, the existence of such adds up to reasonable doubt about the criminality of the act and provides a defence at law. Therefore the TV Licencing must resolve that clash of competing claims of right through civil proceedings until such time as the law is clarified such as to remove reasonable doubt regarding the criminality of the actus reus (The TV License is in direct conflict with EU law which is above UK Law - Both Scottish and English) The doubt can only be removed by judicial review proceedings to get a declaration, and only the High Court has original jurisdiction to conduct judicial review and issue declarations. The TV Licencing would have to apply for the review and enrol all non-payer’s as the opposing party, whereupon the Legal Services Commission must provide legal aide to the opposing party under EU rules requiring equality of arms. As a matter of Human Rights and Community Rights a criminal prosecution can only go ahead if the act complained of is clearly criminal. This derives from articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and from general principles of Community law, both of which are written into English and Scottish law, regarding the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings. In the case of the TV License a person can be prosecuted and a warrant issued without the consumers knowledge and without them being able to defend themselves in court. Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights requires that the criminal law should be clearly defined, so that the defendant can regulate his behaviour. It is submitted that under this Article, where one statute makes an act criminal but another superior statute makes it legal then the law is unclear with regard to the criminality of the act and the charge cannot be brought. In other words if UK law states it is illegal not to have a TV license but EU law is in direct conflict then the UK government and Capita cannot bring charges against someone who refuses to pay. If they do then they are in direct contravention of EU Law - which is criminality. In turn, this article is written into English law via the Human Rights Act 1998 – see Chapter 42: Introduction: 1 The Convention Rights. See also Schedule 1: The Articles: Article 7 No punishment without law. The European Community reads the European Convention on Human Rights into its own law.