Foreign Affairs Committee believe “government should fund BBC Monitoring”

(Source: Parliment.UK via Andy Sennitt on PCJ Media’s Facebook Page)

Government should fund BBC Monitoring, not the licence fee payer

bbc-monitoring29 October 2016

It was a mistake to end Government funding for BBC Monitoring in 2013 and that change should be reversed, say MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Report findings

The Foreign Affairs Committee says BBC Monitoring is vital to the FCO’s scrutiny of developing events across the world. Highly valued by the Government, the service translates and analyses news and information from freely available media sources in 100 different languages and covering 150 countries.

Triggered by a shortfall of £4m in funding, the BBC now proposes an extensive restructure of the service, which would mean the closure of 40% of BBC Monitoring posts in the UK and 20% of posts abroad, and relocation of the service from Caversham to London.

The Government is the prime customer for the service. The Foreign Affairs Committee believes Government should restore funding for open source monitoring of media sources overseas, whether they pay BBC Monitoring or carry out the work themselves.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented:

“BBC Monitoring is a highly regarded organisation whose work is more important than ever.

These cuts to BBC Monitoring, proposed by the BBC, are simply not in the interest of the UK Government. They will not help the FCO improve its performance in detecting trends and undercurrents overseas that have implications for UK policy – something it notably failed to do in Libya, for instance. Given the vast increase in social media output, this kind of monitoring is more important than ever.

Other countries with similar operations fund them from central Government. The principal benefit of the output of BBC Monitoring is better-informed Government policy, which is why the Government should fund it, not the licence fee payer. It’s notable that in the face of these cuts, government departments are in the process of recreating this capability internally. This should not be necessary and we should be bolstering the work of BBC Monitoring, not cutting it.”

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1 thought on “Foreign Affairs Committee believe “government should fund BBC Monitoring”

  1. Jonathan Marks

    The BBC is a poor guardian of BBC Monitoring because times have changed and the BBC newsrooms in London no longer rely on it as a news agency. They do excellent work and the editors of several of their publications are specialists on world affairs and very detailed regional politics. They are public information gatherers and play an important role in trying to make sense of complex world affairs. They are much closer to being a world affairs research resource rather than a news agency.

    But they should change the name to Foreign Media Monitoring and get adequate financing from the Foreign Office. BBC might become a customer instead of being an owner.


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