Foreign Affairs Committee Report on BBC World Service Cuts

April 13, 2011

The Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee have just issued their report on the cuts to the BBC World Service Budget.  I haven’t had a chance to look at it in any detail but the conclusions won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following the discussion.

  • Global changes are making the World Service more important
  • The cuts were  financially driven,
  • The decision to switch funding to the BBC license fee from the FCO was taken at short notice and not properly considered,
  • The Committee suspects that the switch in funding will lead to long term pressure on the World Service budget,
  • They make the point that relatively little additional funding would have avoided the biggest cuts.
  • They criticise the decision to protect the Department for International Development budget from cuts whens a tiny fraction of that budget would have avoided the cuts to the World Service.
  • They argue that the cuts to the Hindi and Mandarin services should be restored.

The last point brings me back to the discussion of resources.  Why restore the cuts – why not do more?  So how can we work out how much international broadcasting we should be doing?

The report is here and some additional evidence submitted to the Committee is here.



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