Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


E-mail to the Clerk from Mr Charles Morrill, Virginia, USA

  To the foreign affairs committee, hello, my name is Charles Morrill from Virginia over here in the United States. I'm writing to make the foreign affairs committee aware of the recent decision by the BBC world service to end most shortwave radio transmissions to North America. I think this is a big mistake. Thousands of us over here, probably millions, have relied on the BBC for years to give us a view of the world other than our own, which you might have noticed, tends to be pretty self-involved. As our own news sources have become essentially fewer (mergers etc.) I believe an increasing number of us have begun looking to shortwave and European news sources for not just a different view of the world, but often the one that makes the most sense. This past July 1, BBC world service stopped broadcasting to North America. While I understand that the money saved will allow world service to reach other parts of the globe who most need shortwave, I argue that BBC's timing is nuts. The world service director says that we can now receive world service over the internet. While this is true, it's only true sometimes (web congestion). Also, most of us over here listen at night and I'll be damned if I'm going to sleep with my computer. The world service director also says we can get BBC over satellite radio. Turns out such services and such radios do not yet exist. Perhaps it would have been prudent to make sure we can get world service over here in some other way before pulling the plug. Sure, I enjoyed following Manchester United, "Brain of Britain," and all the other fun stuff, however, the BBC's coverage of world affairs in English for North Americans was some of the best money you folks ever spent. I'm sorry to see it end. Our two countries can only understand each other less and less.

Mr Charles Morrill



July 2001

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