MP criticism over BBC World Service’s uncertain budget

BBC-WorldService(Source: BBC News)

Uncertainty about the BBC World Service budget as the corporation prepares to take on full funding of the service is “unacceptable”, MPs have warned.

Foreign Office funding for the service will stop in April 2014 when it will be paid for out of the licence fee.

The Foreign Affairs Committee said the World Service could not “plan properly” because the BBC had yet to issue an operating licence to define its budget.

[…]A World Service spokesman said the change in funding next April, when it will be integrated with the BBC’s domestic news services, “provides certainty and stability”.

But the committee of MPs said it did not see how the World Service could prepare when it would not know “either the priorities, targets or characteristics which have been set for it, or its budget” until a few months before the change came into force.

[…]The committee also warned that, while it was logical to withdraw shortwave radio in dwindling markets where audiences had access to the internet and TV, such services still had a place.

“The World Service must continue to take into account significant audiences in certain parts of the world, such as rural India and Africa, who currently rely on shortwave radio,” it added.

The committee’s report, which also covers the work of the Foreign Office and the British Council, also warns that the UK risks losing credibility if more senior diplomats are not fluent in a range of languages.

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3 thoughts on “MP criticism over BBC World Service’s uncertain budget

  1. Keith Perron

    With the budget for the World Service coming from the license the BBC will be under lots of pressure to justify the BBCWS budget. Since it was announced that the Foreign Office will no longer fund the World Service many of the British public are asking why should their license fees pay for an audience outside the UK to listen. I think the same thing will happen to the WS that happened to RCI. Ever since the funding was transferred back to the CBC, Canadians were asking the CBC why should their tax dollars go to fund RCI. I think this is what was behind the 80% cut to RCI’s budget. This is the problem when you have external services that are part of larger public broadcasters. Domestic services will always come first.


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