Implications of BBC World Service Cuts - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

Written evidence from Peter Carroll

I understand that your committee is in the process of considering the changes being planned to various BBC overseas services including the possible termination of the BBC Nepali Service that reaches far into the remote areas of the Nepal hills and mountains. I was extensively involved in what became known as The Gurkha Justice Campaign including persuading Joanna Lumley to help lead it. As a result, I gave had strong links with the retired British Army Gurkha community both here in the UK and in Nepal. I have also had the honour of visiting the country in 2009.

I understand that all areas of public life are currently the subject of intensive scrutiny with a view to ensuring value for money and cost reduction.

I am sure that you will be aware of the enormously strong links between Nepal and Britain resulting from the heroic service of Gurkhas in the British Army over a period that stretches back nearly 200 years. Very many of the retired British Army Gurkhas live in the remotest areas of Nepal and rely totally on the BBC Nepali service for news and current affairs information. The loss of the service would be a serious blow to their quality of life. Additionally, so many people in and from Nepal have told me that as their country grapples with some enormous political and economic problems, the inclusion in their civic life of the BBC service is of vital importance from a cultural point of view.

I know little of the financial background to the considerations. However, I have seen figures quoted that suggest the actual cost of the service is small in the context of general broadcasting budgets.

On behalf of the many British Army Gurkha veterans that have contacted me on this matter, may I request that these points be brought to the attention of your Committee.

I very much hope that it might be possible to save this service.

9 March 2011

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