Implications of the BBC World Service Cuts

Written evidence from John Rowlett

BBC World Service Cuts

I am writing to you to register my opposition to the planned cuts to one of our greatest institutions, namely the BBC World Service.

The World Service is an organisation that brings much prestige to the United Kingdom, and once lost will be difficult to recover. Its expertise and unbiased journalism are held in high esteem both abroad and at home.

In many parts of the world, the Wold Service on short wave transmission is the main, if not only method of populations gaining a true picture of both national and international events. The stated aim of only continuing with the internet is flawed in as much that many of the poorest people do not have access to the intranet, and even if they did, many of these poor are also illiterate. This in its self would also be a moot point as many governments are attempting to establish methods of internet restriction.

The cuts will also affect the BBC Monitoring desk, a vital tool for gathering information and its analysis from around the world. This is a vital instrument in uncovering, amongst other things human rights abuse, disasters and corruption. This would not be possible without the specialised journalists in place.

Impartial observers around the world are baffled by this decision, and do not understand why we should wish to destroy the World Service.

I call on you to reconsider the proposed cuts by diverting a small fraction of the aid budget to the World Service.

7 February 2011