The upcoming log-in ID requirement for the BBC IPlayer will hinder Sheffield international journalism students’ education, according to journalism academics.
The BBC officially announced on 27 September that their online catch-up platform, once free, will only be accessible to users with a TV licence from early 2017.
A log-in ID will be demanded by the service to watch programmes.
British students who can’t afford a TV licence can share a log-in with their parents but overseas students unable to afford a licence will be deprived of watching Auntie Beeb.
Daniela Velkova, a Bulgarian journalism student at the University of Sheffield said: “It feels really unfair. As a journalism student, I need to be informed and this easy source has been taken away.”
Matt Robson, journalism lecturer at Sheffield University and former editor for the BBC said: “If you’ve been used to getting BBC news for free, I understand how irritating but I also understand that the BBC need to pay everybody to make the news in the first place. For someone who used to work for the BBC I would not want to not be paid for doing my job.”
From 1 September 2016 users were already presented with a message telling them they must purchase a £145,50 TV licence even if they are not watching live.
However, this message was overlooked by many users with few consequences.
Andrew Gilfillan, a member of the BBC IPlayer Support team said: “I understand that you feel that TV licensing legislation negatively affects international students and would like to know if there will ever be a student discount but it’s the government who sets the level of the TV licence, not the BBC or TV licensing.”
Lisa Bradley, Director of Learning and Teaching journalism at Sheffield University said: “It’s not only for Journalism students and not just at our university but across the world as a whole. The BBC is a linchpin and a part of our British institution and it’s a shame to limit anyone’s access to it.