Implications of BBC World Service Cuts - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

Written evidence from Richard Hamilton

I am outraged, shocked and appalled by the proposed government cuts that are to be imposed on the BBC World Service. I have worked for the organisation since 1998 and have always been very proud of what it does in informing people across the globe by delivering truthful, accurate, impartial and vital news often to places where there is no independent media.

My grandfather worked for the German Language Service during the Second World War. I have reported as a correspondent from three different African countries and have been amazed and humbled by the esteem and affection in which the service is held. I can remember interviewing a poor market trader in a slum of Madagascar who thanked me and the BBC because in his words it gave people like him a voice. At the other end of the spectrum the Moroccan minister of religious affairs said as a child he'd been inspired by broadcasts from the Arabic service in the 1950s.

I'm sure you are aware of the function that the BBC World Service performs in allowing Britain to punch above its diplomatic weight. As Kofi Annan said in 1999, it is perhaps Britain's greatest gift to the world this century.

But now we are to lose 650 jobs and 30 million listeners in one fell swoop. My colleagues and I are nervously waiting to hear whether we will be made redundant or not. I hope that MPs will think again about the impact of these cuts which in my opinion are incredibly short sighted.

7 February 2011

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