Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Another Late Night Rant

The decisions taken at BBC Broadcasting House do not make sense to me this week

broadcasting house

A year ago, Haiti suffered a dreadful earthquake. At the time, I posted an encouraging story about how the BBC World Service was able to help a young student contact his mother in the USA to let her know he was alive [here]

haitian mother bbc 03 02 10[4]

Last Saturday, the BBC World Service began new programmes in the Creole language for the Haitians -  BBC World Service Director, Peter Horrocks, said

“We believe our new service in the Creole language will be a vital source of trusted information to Haitians at this time of crisis, as well as to the rescue and aid teams who are working so hard on the ground. “We have had lots of positive feedback that our broadcasts in English, French and Spanish have been appreciated on the ground.”

More information about all this here


This evening I was reading the BBC news website before I switch off and go to bed and saw this

The BBC World Service is to close five of its language services.

It is thought that about 650 jobs will be lost from a workforce of some 2,400. It is believed staff will be informed on Wednesday of the redundancies.

The Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian services will be axed, as will English for the Caribbean and Portuguese for Africa, in a bid to save £46m a year.

Check out the details of these cuts here

“These ferocious cuts to a valued national service are ultimately the responsibility of the coalition government, whose policies are destroying quality public services in the UK," said Jeremy Dear [general secretary of the NUJ]

It is only a few days since I posted about the amazing benefits which the Burmese people have gained, through the radios provided by Amnesty International.


I believe passionately in the value of radio to spread information – and I think this is an incredibly short-sighted move to cut these services

Peter Horrocks [the same guy who made statements last week – see above] says

“There is a need to make savings due to the scale of the cuts to the BBC World Service's grant-in-aid funding from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and we need to focus our efforts in the languages where there is the greatest need and where we have the strongest impact."

I know the Government is having to make cuts – but I cannot see that reducing funding to the World Service is the right place for them. The cynic in me says “Well, they probably feel it doesn’t matter, because these broadcasts are not actually for British people, it is mostly foreigners who listen”

We have the best public radio in the world – and I have always been glad that the BBC has such a brilliant World Service. Terry Waite, Aung San Suu Kyi, and many others who have been in difficult situations abroad, have spoken of how the World Service was their lifeline, and gave them hope in dark days.

The BBC crest says “Nation shall speak peace unto nation…”

bbc crest

…but not in their own language, it seems…


  1. You do have excellent radio. My dad was a fan. He said you could do as much altogether as Dan Rather made in a year! And do it better. ~Liz

  2. Excellent post.I'd like to paste it on my facebook page but lack the technical know-how to do so.

    Ann Johnston

  3. Ann - I can send you it by email as a word document if you want to cut and paste.
    Send me your email address as a comment here [I will NOT publish it] and I will do so


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