Comment: Internet news: there’s no such thing as a giveaway

Free? It’s a deluding word in a deluded internet world. On the one hand, newspaper publishers are forming a queue around New York’s blocks to get expert advice on building pay walls around the precious words their writers pen. One the other hand, angry bloggers swear that the net is “free” and great corporations rally to their banner. “I would rather the BBC was abolished than that we started encrypting news to stop people seeing it,” vows director general Thompson.But, of course, there’s no such thing as a “free” web news service, any more than there is a “free” NHS at £90bn-plus.Access to BBC digital news, views and features costs £150m a year, and rising. That comes from the £142.50p every television licence-fee payer is obliged to find.

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