BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty defends licence fee

The BBC Breakfast host has expressed support for the licence fee, adding that it's a service which keeps people "informed, educated and entertained".

Naga Munchetty

BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty has said that she believes the licence fee is “worth” paying for ahead of the broadcaster’s plans to end free TV licences for those over 75.

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Speaking to the Radio Times magazine, the 45-year-old said that the BBC provides a service which keeps viewers “informed, educated and entertained”.

“There’s been noise about the licence fee for decades,” she said. “But at Breakfast, we’re not ratings-driven, we’re not there to garner attention on social media.”

“We’re there to provide a service and make sure people are informed, educated and entertained. I think a licence is worth that.”

From Saturday 1st August, over-75s will be required to pay the £157.50 licence fee, a change which was originally meant to take effect on 1st June but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The presenter also spoke out about being found in breach of editorial guidelines by the BBC last year, after expressing her opinion on air when President Donald Trump told four US congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.

At the time, the presenter said that Trump’s comments were “embedded in racism”, adding: “I can imagine lots of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it’s OK to skirt the lines with using language like that.”

Munchetty said that “there are lessons to be learnt” from the ordeal, which eventually saw the BBC reverse its decision.

“The Breakfast team was very supportive at the time and, since then, I’ve had regular conversations with Tony Hall and other BBC bosses,” she added. “My whole strategy was to just keep my head down because I didn’t want to be the story.”

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Munchetty has been a presenter at the BBC since 2010, having fronted bulletins on the BBC News Channel, BBC World News and now BBC One’s Breakfast.

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