World Service October 25, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Historic change over at the World Service. Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai services are to be axed. I had an initial tingle of sadness at the thought of Eastern European services being cut, but reading and listening about this more, it’s not all grim. Those countries now – apart from Kazakhstan – are all democracies and figures show that people are listening to the BBC less and less. (And the Kazakhs can still listen in Russian.) And the money saved will be ploughed into an Arabic-language TV service. BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman denied that the BBC World Service is working to a government agenda, saying: “We have no political motive. Our job is to be a broadcaster.” But obviously the World Service bigwigs have decided there’s a job to be done in the Middle East. Nice that some Eastern Europeans are already expressing their sadness. (I can hear the Czech foreign minister bemoaning the loss on the airwaves right now. That’s a compliment to the BBC, that a minister actually welcomes a foreign source of news in his language.) Many Germans rued the German service’s passing too, but they got over it, of course. And, in any case, many World Service listeners losing their native-language broadcasts are likely to be outward-looking (or listening) types and will just as happily listen to the English-language broadcasts. So this is happy axing, almost.