Man refuses to pay licence in protest of BBC Israel bias

Jeremy Flashman makes no bones about it: "I hope they send me to prison."

The reason that 45-year-old father of three Mr Flashman is so keen to end up behind bars can be summed up in three letters: BBC.

The telecoms engineer, from Woodford Green in Essex, has become so angered by the BBC and the way it reports Israel that he has refused to pay his television licence.

So when an enforcement officer arrived at his door, Mr Flashman did not hesitate: "I told him I have a television, and I admitted watching it without a licence. He said I would receive a summons within 21 days.

"I will never pay them another penny. This is my protest against the BBC and the way it goes about reporting what happens in Israel. It's because I'm Jewish and Israel is at the heart of being Jewish."

Mr Flashman claimed that the BBC was breaking its own charter by allowing what he claimed were biased reports to be broadcast.

"However there is a point of principle here, that in the future the BBC could do this to any other race or religion," he said. "The BBC has this narrow view of what is going on there, like with the story about Mossad.

"Going to prison doesn't frighten me. I've been in police cells before for being drunk on a Saturday night. But for this I would be proud to go. What can they do to me?"

A spokesman for the BBC said: "The BBC is committed to accurate and impartial coverage of the Middle East. Regardless of personal opinion, anyone found watching or recording TV programmes without a valid licence risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

"We can and do prosecute people who object and refuse to pay for a licence."

    Last updated: 4:23pm, February 25 2010