Written evidence from Kofi A. Annan |
MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FOR BBC WORLD SERVICE
The BBC World Service is a subject close to my heart.
I noted once before that, for millions of people across the world,
it has been a way of cutting through the veil of tyranny to provide
uncensored news. In the late 1990's, I described it as "perhaps
Britain's greatest gift to the world this century".
The BBC, like many government-funded organisations
around the world, is making sweeping cuts at a time of international
austerity. I fear this could have a devastating impact. In particular,
the cutting - at short notice - of short wave broadcasts in Hindi,
in Swahili, and to the Great Lakes of Africa will mean that millions
of people will no longer have access to balanced, fair, independent
news and information. For many communities around the world, BBC
short wave broadcasts in their own language are a lifeline, a
window to the outside world, an opportunity to learn and develop.
The unparalleled reputation of the World Service
rests on three main pillars; accuracy, impartiality and accessibility.
To remove any one of these is to undermine the whole structure
- and its crucial service to more than 180 million people around
As a strong supporter of the BBC World Service, particularly
in remote regions, I hope you will do everything possible to maintain
this service and continue this public good.
Kofi A. Annan
United Nations Secretary-General (1997-2006)
10 February 2011