8 The British Council and the BBC World
244. A crucial means to export the values espoused
by the United Kingdom in the region is through the British Council
and the BBC World Service. For instance, the British Council in
Serbia and Montenegro offers access to a library and support for
educational opportunities in the United Kingdom. Over the last
year, the British Council has also opened a new office in Podgorica,
which will support the reform effort in Montenegro, while the
Belgrade office has received awards from the Serbian Ministry
of Culture for its contributions to education. The British Council
in Serbia also supports co-operation between the National and
Royal National Theatres in the United Kingdom and directors and
writers in Serbia, works closely with the Serbian media, and has
organised conferences which bring together young people from throughout
the region, as part of broader efforts to ensure the stability
of and improve civil society in the Western Balkans.
Commenting on the work of the British Council, the Minister said:
"The British Council is extremely active in Belgrade and
I pay tribute to their work." 
245. We conclude that the work of the British
Council in the Balkans is essential and we commend the good work
of its Belgrade office, for instance by bringing young people
from across the region together in conferences. We urge the British
Council to expand this work, and to increase educational opportunities
in areas necessary for the effective development of the Balkans,
such as those relating to good governance.
246. The BBC World Service played a key role in the
dissemination of balanced information during the conflicts of
the 1990s, when local media output often consisted of little more
than government propaganda.
Since the fall of Milosevic, the quality of media in the
region has improved, although the World Service continues to set
the highest standards of journalism for emulation in the Western
Balkans. Currently, the BBC provides programming for broadcast
on Serbian radio station B92, in Kosovo via Pristina 98.6 FM,
in Croatia via Otvotreni, and in Macedonia with the National Radio.
However, the BBC has never broadcast in Bosnia and we heard in
Sarajevo that politicians would appreciate BBC programming. Competitors
in the region include Detusche Welle and Radio Free Europe, although
its Balkan language output is scant. We also heard that regulatory
frameworks for media in the Balkans were imperfect, and that problems
with the media today include the allocation of frequencies for
broadcast and the regulation of media ownership.
247. We conclude that the BBC World Service's
contribution to broadcasting in the Balkans is most commendable.
However, we regret the lack of Bosnian programming; we urge the
BBC to expand its coverage to include Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We also recommend that the BBC and the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office work together with the governments in the region to improve
the regulatory framework for the media, for instance by providing
technical expertise to help Belgrade simplify the allocation of
radio frequencies in Serbia.
305 Ev 98 Back
Ev 83 Back
Ev 141 Back