Trust protects World Service news focus

Lord Williams Lord Williams: Trust will ensure World Service 'can remain true to its mission'

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News, current affairs and factual programmes must constitute 75% of all World Service output in future.

From April, at least three-quarters of programmes on the international service must be factually-based, under the terms of the World Service operating licence that was published on Thursday by the BBC Trust.

The condition was added to the draft document after concerns were raised that the World Service's commitment to news might be eroded after it moves from grant-in-aid to licence fee funding.

BBC Persian television only has to meet a 50% news and current affairs quota as it does 'not have the capability to produce 75% news and current affairs schedule'.

Commercial funding

There was also some opposition to trust proposals, outlined in the draft operating policy, for the World Service to 'seek non-licence fee sources of funding (including commercial funding)'.

The trust said it was agreeing a policy on alternative finance with the government which it would publish in due course.

The operating licence covers the remit, objectives and budget for the service (£245m in 2014/15).

'The trust is committed to providing enduring support for the World Service once it comes under licence fee funding, and ensuring it can remain true to its mission of delivering the highest quality news reporting around the world,' said international trustee Lord Williams.

'This licence establishes a clear framework for it to do so and we will regularly review the service to ensure this remains the case.'

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