Implications of the BBC World Service Cuts

Written evidence from Jacqueline Stainburn

BBC World Service Cuts

I am writing to you to inform you why I am opposed to the proposed cuts for the BBC World Service.

I worked at the BBC World Service for 12 years and have a very strong memory of working on the Newsdesk when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, he personally thanked the BBC World Service. I was, and still am immensely proud of that moment and many others spent at my time there.

The World Service radio continues to provide a lifeline to people in times of crisis. Recent examples include the disasters in Pakistan and Haiti. By cutting services, the BBC will lose the ability to control broadcasting in times of emergencies. The host government will have the ability to shut down the World Service at times when it is most needed - whether by switching off the power, shutting down the internet, putting journalists in jail or just locking the doors.

The recent events in Egypt and the shutting down of the internet there are the latest example and show the need for continued shortwave presence. Many listeners in the Great Lakes region (including the Democratic Republic of Congo), Nepal, and rural India do not have internet access.

The BBC World Service has become the most popular and most trusted news service in the globe. The cuts will also affect the BBC World Service newsroom where the stories are written and translated. The changes will mean that a much more limited range and expertise of stories will be covered. The world is a volatile place. The cuts simply must not go ahead.

7 February 2011