The World Service at 80: The Ambivalence of International BroadcastingFebruary 29, 2012
The BBC World Service is celebrating its 80th anniversary today. I was wondering what to say about this when I heard the Director of the Service, Peter Horrocks being interviewed on the domestic service Radio 4.
In commenting on the continuing relevance of the service he pointed to the Iranian government’s jamming of the service and harassment of the families of Persian service staff
‘…it’s because the Iranian government sees it as such a threat. And in a report from the Iranian government, it described it as so dangerous because it’s impartial not because it’s propagandist or oppositionist but because it tells the truth as it is.’
This is simultaneously an impeccable statement of a liberal theory of journalism and a state funded broadcaster boasting about upsetting a foreign government that he’s been pointed towards by the Foreign Office.
This sums up the history of the World Service in a couple of lines.
You can listen to the whole interview here