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Do you agree with BBC World Service cuts?

10:06 UK time, Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The BBC World Service is to close five of its 32 language services, in a bid to save £46m a year.

The Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian, English for the Caribbean and Portuguese for Africa services are all to be axed with 650 jobs expected to be lost from a workforce of some 2,400.

The BBC said it had to make savings after its government support was cut, but unions called the move "ferocious".

Is the BBC right to axe these language services? Are you a listener? Are the cuts aimed in the necessary places?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Error: Too many requests have been made during a short time period so you have been blocked.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Times have changed. When I first started travelling, the BBC world service was well known. I used to listen to it – so that I could keep up with news from home. The people that I worked alongside listened to it because Britain still had a certain cachet and the BBC was looked upon as the epitome of quality unbiased reporting.

    Now? Well, most people don’t get their news by radio. Mobile phones, Internet, Television all provide news feeds that are used more than radio. Also, Britain is no longer looked upon as a great world-leading country. And, sorry BBC, but you are no longer looked upon as a quality unbiased news vendor. Technology advance accounts for the first. Some would say that “cycles of history” explain the second. But you are the only ones to blame for the third.

  • Comment number 2.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 3.

    The BBC should implement and enforce a licence fee in those areas to be cut. The UK taxpayer shouldn't be subsidising overseas broadcasts, even if it is 'propoganda'-type broadcasting to promote the UK on behalf of the politicians.

  • Comment number 4.

    On the grounds that the world service (and I have listened to it while abroad) is basically the same as Radio 4 - a horrible mix of readings, plays, interviews with artists, more bull about artists, discussions about artists, discussions about discussions about artists, news about artists, more plays, discussions about the artists motives behind the acting in a play, discussions about what the author might have been thinking about while writing the play.......

    (get my drift, there is nothing remotely interesting on the world service or indeed radio 4 these days)

    The whole lot - and radio 4 - might just as well be closed down.

    It is of interest to 0.000000000000000001% of the population.

  • Comment number 5.

    So we still have a “World service” all paid for solely by the British licence / Tax payer, what a novel idea, now why has no one thought of that before?.

  • Comment number 6.

    Definitely not.

    The BBC is seen as being a major trusted voice of the free world and these cut will mean it will be replaced by Voice of America which let’s face it is the voice of America.

    The BBC is about the last thing left that this nation has to promote itself through and although the internet is the up and coming media of the future for those people living in mud huts, shanty towns or stranded in a third world country during a coup then the radio is their only life line to the free world.

    Cutting the BBC world service is nearly as bad as cutting our Navy.

    A very poor and blinkered decision.

  • Comment number 7.

    The dreaded World Service. I prefer to watch something in a language I don't understand a word of to that drivel. Get rid completely and consign it tot he same bin as radio 5 and upwards and all the other minority interest garbage.

  • Comment number 8.

    The World service is cutting five language services and it's "ferocious"?
    I don't remember such a fuss some years ago when twice as many services were axed to pay for more Arabic and Persian broadcasts.

  • Comment number 9.

    As has been said already, and will be again, in this day and age, with internet so readily available, and satellite covering the world, there is no longer a need for this service.

    I assume that the decisions have been taken based on how many still listen to the World Service in various countries, rather than for in-political reasons. The reality is that BBC is now more biased than it traditionally has been, and offers less quality in its fight to retain market share. As a Public Service it should draw back from trying offer something for everyone in a lowest-common-denominator approach and concentrate on offering quality broadcasting aimed at majorities. Though I personally dislike it, Eastenders takes in loads on cash for BBC, as do other bugbears of mine, like Larkrise. However there are also QI, Have I got News..., and others. These are the bread and butter of BBC now, as DAVE will testify, and it should get back to basics. Remember, you can never please all of the people all of the time.

  • Comment number 10.

    It's a shame they are cutting these services which for some countries is major source of truth and news. When I was abroad it was one way of keeping up with an unbiased account of news in the world. No doubt the void will be filled by a less able service.

    Re comment Number 4 if we did not have radio 4 I would not have a radio. It provides entertainment, news and knowledge.
    Unlike any other channel I have tuned in to.

    Re-comment 6

    Well said

  • Comment number 11.

    I would like to mention to the few who have posted so far that the licence-payer does not fund the World Service, the British Government does.

    I would also like to add my wholehearted support to comment No 4. I used to be an avid Radio 4 fan, even scheduling some tasks around broadcast times so that I could enjoy my favourite programmes.

    For several years now all I have listened to on Radio 4 has been The Archers, Clue and Ed Reardon's Week, together with The News Quiz which, however, is becoming less and less interesting and enjoyable, not least because several of the participants are virtually unintelligible.

    The rest of the output is of no interest whatever, just like the rest of radio, BBC or commercial. Don't get me started on TV...

    It is a good thing to cut back the World Service. The BBC (and for that matter Great Britain) does not own or have repsonsibility for the rest of the world. All countries have their own governments. Let those governments run their countries and let us run ours, and maybe things in the UK will actually improve for once.

  • Comment number 12.

    Although driven by economic necessity, the planned service cuts reflect the diminished importance of beaming western news/propaganda to the downtrodden peoples of the Eastern Bloc. That's history now and people access news quite freely on the Internet, from all over the planet.
    It's probably more important, these days, for the BBC to maintain its excellent foreign language web-pages, and it's doubtless cheaper, too.

  • Comment number 13.

    it's not so much bbc but the change in people,public image,journalism catch up
    for the rest of the world,the space age,people's lives added to longer living,children and their progress in their daily lives and the affects of varying policies introduced by government to take away and not by adding more to the pleasures of what is viewed or broadcast.
    Life on the screen can send a message to government iether for or against and most people,especially those without,will be certain of a thumbs down on government cut backs

  • Comment number 14.

    The BBC is living in the past and has been for many years (always quite happy to take the extortionate licence fee, though). The days of people crowding round the 'wireless' listening to 'The News from London' are long gone.

    The BBC is a British institution funded by British taxpayers; ALL its foreign language services should be disbanded, it should broadcast in English only.

    If people had to pay a subscription to listen to it, I'd estimate the whole of the BBC would be off-air in less than a year. The only reason it survives is because we are forced to pay for it if we want to have a TV.

    My nephew is currently on a jungle expedition in Kalimantan; he's picking up the internet via his laptop and satellite. Proof if proof were needed that the World Service is an out-of-date anachronism that is no longer necessary. When anyone, anywhere can pick up the internet on a mobile phone or a laptop, why on earth do they need the BBC? The answer is....they don't!

  • Comment number 15.

    4. At 11:26am on 26 Jan 2011, anotherfakename wrote:
    (get my drift, there is nothing remotely interesting on the world service or indeed radio 4 these days)

    The whole lot - and radio 4 - might just as well be closed down.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Speak for yourself, I very much doubt that you represent the majority view. Radio 4 is quality radio for anyone with a brain who wants to be informed, as opposed to the mindless outpourings of the music channels, particularly on commercial radio. The Today programme is arguably the best current affairs programme on radio or TV in the UK.
    As far as the World Service is concerned, it may have had a purpose when we had an Empire or when we were trying to spread democracy behind the Iron Curtain, but I fear it is now a bit of a white elephant and that the resources would be best saved, or at least deployed upon improving domestic programming. Britain in the 21st Century needs to look after itself and stop trying to influence the rest of the globe in areas where, frankly we are guilty of overweening arrogance if we think that they care at all.

  • Comment number 16.

    It's a great service, when overseas it's great to have it, even here sometimes (when other available stations are rubbish).

    But yes, something has to give, new technology may help cut costs, cutting pay above UK average progressively might also be better and help maintain the economy, but is anyone thinking sensibly?

  • Comment number 17.

    To quote your own article on this subject - 'The service currently costs £272m a year and has an audience of 241 million worldwide across radio, television and online.

    The service is currently funded solely by UK licence payers who do not need or want it but are obliged to pay for it. The people who actually use it and want it retained actually contribute diddly squat to financing it.

    The maths aren't perfect but the cost is pretty close to 1 pound per person per year for the entire audience who wish to keep it.
    This would still be an absolute bargain compared with what UK licence payers have to contribute.

    If it's that important to them why not ask those currently using it for free to each stump up a pound a year to keep it going rather than expect those who are currently funding it but not using it to continue paying for something they don't use and don't want.

  • Comment number 18.

    As posted here already,this new age of instant communication has made BBC World service less necessary than it once was.Like everything in this super fast age.If it don't make money,it's liable to be canned.

  • Comment number 19.

    With the Internet, Sky Tv etc the World Service could be abolished.

    As a licence fee payer, why should I pay for the World Service, yet get no benefit and especially when there are lots of other alternatives. What's the BBC trying to achieve with the World Service that costs over 1/4 billion pounds a year?

  • Comment number 20.

    11. At 11:57am on 26 Jan 2011, Michael Lloyd wrote:
    I would like to mention to the few who have posted so far that the licence-payer does not fund the World Service, the British Government does.
    ==================================

    And who do you think funds the British Government? Yes...the British taxpayers!!

  • Comment number 21.

    11. At 11:57am on 26 Jan 2011, Michael Lloyd wrote:
    I would like to mention to the few who have posted so far that the licence-payer does not fund the World Service, the British Government does

    Wrong, wrong, wrong! As the BBC NOW pays for the World Service.

  • Comment number 22.

    The service, which started broadcasting in 1932, currently costs £272m a year, and has an audience of 241 million worldwide.

    Remind me out of the 241 million who actually pays for this?
    Yes the UK licence fee payer. So unless the 200+ million that dont contribute would like too, cut it completely.

    So the choice is there's if you want a world service, you fund it. I think WE as the licence payer have supported your freebee for far too long anyway dont you.

  • Comment number 23.

    Like everyone else, the BBC needs to do what is necessary to live within its means. It needs to remember that it is providing a local service to the UK and its worldwide ambitions must be slashed. It can no longer afford to be profligate with licence payers money like it was in the past when it sent hundreds of people to report on the Chinese Olympics etc. Those days are long gone. The BBC needs to concentrate on the english language and to improve content. Everything else should be scrapped.

    It also needs to stop paying £1m pension pots to its execs and footballer's wages to it's presenters.

  • Comment number 24.

    No it is a very wrong and bad decison forced by the coalition on BBC

  • Comment number 25.

    World Service is a throw back to Empire and Imperialism and it has rather been overtaken by technology. People the third world get their up to date political information by other technologies.

    The question for today is does it provide value for the British taxpayer. Does it win us export orders? Does it make us friends overseas that can be valued?

    I suggest not.

    Does it act as an advertising board for asylum seekers the world over, I would guess yes.

  • Comment number 26.

    11. At 11:57am on 26 Jan 2011, Michael Lloyd wrote:
    I would like to mention to the few who have posted so far that the licence-payer does not fund the World Service, the British Government does.
    .
    .........................................................
    .
    Sorry, I did not know that; I assumed it was financed by BBC, I did not realise it was financed from our taxes.
    That being the case I believe there is an even stronger argument for binning it. Not everybody is forced to buy a TV licence; owning a television is not compulsory. Paying income tax is.
    Governments of all colours spend money in ways which most of us may disagree, I really can't see how broadcasting programmes in arabic, farsi or croatian is an acceptable way of spending British taxpayers money.

  • Comment number 27.

    Yes! The days of empire are over.

  • Comment number 28.

    If those in the foreign countries using the services pay £145 a year for a licence then I have no view.
    If a proportion of my £145 a year like everything else I pay in tax of what sort or another ends up propping up foreign nations when this country is cutting services left right and centre because we can't afford them then yes your right to cut such facilities.

  • Comment number 29.

    It is a sad day for BBC (its obvious liberal left bias in the last 50 years notwithstanding).


    So many countries have no legitimate independent news media, including broadcast operations.

    And BBC language services to the 'underserved' regions of the world were filling at least a part of the huge informational "dark hole".

    By merely broadcasting hardcore news. [if not the commentary]


    This meerkat is genuinly saddened. :-(

  • Comment number 30.

    As a tax payer I say keep the world service and stop child support for all but the second child.

  • Comment number 31.

    11. At 11:57am on 26 Jan 2011, Michael Lloyd wrote:
    I would like to mention to the few who have posted so far that the licence-payer does not fund the World Service, the British Government does.

    ================================

    Sorry, you are 101% WRONG.

    The British government pays 100% of NOTHING, or ZERO.

    British TAXPAYERS are the FUNDERS/PAYERS of 100% OF ALL British government expenditure.

  • Comment number 32.

    Who currently funds the World Service is pretty central to this discussion but there seems to be some confusion as to whether it is paid for by BBC from the licence fee or direct by government from taxation.


    BBC itself is not helping when it's own report says - 'The BBC said it had to make savings after its government support was cut'.
    This suggests to me that it is the government who fund it?

    To mods - any chance of getting a definitive answer and letting us know?

  • Comment number 33.

    It is significant that the foreign office is no longer willing to support this service. Perhaps they realise that after the Iraq and Afghan wars, and revelations such as those in today's Guardian about MI6's tutoring of the Palestinian Authority's secret police, it is pointless to try to maintain the UK's reputation as a source of unbiased information.

    However, the cuts to BBC internet services are in my opinion even more serious. This is the future, radio is the past. Within a few years it is likely that most people will receive their TV and radio programmes via the internet. They will, providing the internet community stands it ground against attempts to block them, be able to choose to view and listen to programmes, other than those controlled by their own governments.

    The BBC's web services are very successful. Shamefully this seems to be the reason that they are being cut. We must be denied access to BBC services, to enable less popular private services to compete.

    The staff no longer needed for radio's foreign services should be transfered to web services. Budget savings, which the coalition has forced upon the BBC, should be made by cutting radio and TV services, where there are almost identical private services available.


  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    BBC has droped it quality the last few... it looks like soon their won't be any point left!

  • Comment number 36.

    The type of programming that the world service provides is similary that as Radio 4, hence it is targetted at a MINORITY, though be it a pretty much elite minority who are into such programming such as arty things.

    BBC world service has been stuck in a time warp and its relevence and importance has factually dwindled.

    This perception that the BBC is reliable for news content and truth etc is NOT the REALITY of perceptions of the MAJORITY of peoples in other nations.

    All you have to do is add "British" to something, and it is regarded by many as being of part of British government, which ultimately is NOT seen in the best of light by many many people in other nations.

  • Comment number 37.

    Over the last 25 years I've seen the BBC World Service go from a class news organisation to a CNN clone with a bunch talking faces. They could cut a lot more and I wouldn't miss it.

  • Comment number 38.

    32. At 12:35pm on 26 Jan 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:
    Who currently funds the World Service is pretty central to this discussion but there seems to be some confusion as to whether it is paid for by BBC from the licence fee or direct by government from taxation.
    =======================================

    There's no confusion at all. Whether it's paid for by the BBC or by grant from central Government, the money comes from the same source...the taxpayers.

    The Government has no money except that which comes from taxpayers.

  • Comment number 39.

    I do not care how large the audience is world wide why has the licence payer been paying for this service for none licence fee payers.
    It is not the responsibility of the bbc or the british people to provide for non contributing foreign nationals.

  • Comment number 40.

    Slightly off subject but one thing that has so far raised its head on this debate, it appears that quite a large majority people on here (and other HYS debates) are fed up to the back teeth with UK taxpayers money (however it’s collected) being squandered everywhere in the world, maybe it’s about time the BBC, the government and the various charities who’s hands are constantly stretched out to the government actually listened to what the majority of people are saying.

    It goes something like this.

    Stop giving OUR money away abroad, it’s not your money; you did not earn it so stop giving it away.

    Maybe the BBC should have a debate on this.

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    This might be a stupid question but why were a quarter of the workforce working on a fifth of the languages? Surely they are closing the least listened to services first. The numbers don't add up.

    For the record, I love the world service but as has been stated and the same applies to BBC 606 and HYS why should British license fee payers be forced to pay to provide a service that overseas users are using for free. Any notion that the rest of the world trust Britain to uphold the truth is seriously misguided. By and large the attitude I see overseas towards Britain hovers between mistrust and dislike.

  • Comment number 43.

    I simply cannot believe that some people regard the licence fee as excessive. It is simply not a realistic appraisal. For a paltry annual amount the BBC offer the best media in the world, free of advertising and less biased than any commercial service.

    They offer this service across television, radio and the web and can boast the best quality service in all areas. Within their output there is something for everyone however individual in their orientation and interest.

    They are not perfect clearly but I would pay the licence fee for Friday nights on BBC4 and Bob Harris on R2 alone. I know other who would say the same for their individual interests. I cannot listen to commercial radio and adverts are an offence to good television. To be free of that attempted manipulation of my wallet is also good value.

    Individual niche suppliers outplay the BBC in their niches but seldom on cost. None of the larger players are even in the same league on quality or gravitas although they do use buying power to outstrip the BBC here and there (Soccer, Cricket, HBO drama etc). That buying power is only available to them because they take a lot more of your money for a lot less delivered.

  • Comment number 44.

    The BBC is no longer the impartial source it used to be, and people are becoming aware of this. Also, its over-bloated. When I heard its cutting 200 websites I was amazed - how many does it need ?

  • Comment number 45.

    The world service shouldn't be cut but BBC Radio & TV should... two news readers - one reading while the other gawps in the camera, that will save a bob or two for a start.

  • Comment number 46.

    Too bad for those listeners.They shall miss you in a big way.

  • Comment number 47.

    26. At 12:25pm on 26 Jan 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:

    ...................................................

    Not everybody is forced to buy a TV licence; owning a television is not compulsory.
    Unfortunately not owning a TV is not an excuse...


    A TV Licence is not just for TV sets
    From the BBC website.

    Watching TV on the internet
    You need to be covered by a licence if you watch TV online at the same time as it's being broadcast on conventional TV in the UK or the Channel Islands.
    Video recorders and digital recorders like Sky+
    You need a licence if you record TV as it's broadcast, whether that's on a conventional video recorder or digital box.
    Mobile phones
    A licence covers you to watch TV as it's broadcast on a mobile phone, whether you're at home or out and about.


    No escape I am afraid.

  • Comment number 48.

    I would imagine the services are worthwhile and the employees do the job well, so in that sense it seems absurd to stop them. Maybe there is also an issue of continuous, professional knowledge/cultures being broken apart and lost too?

  • Comment number 49.

    5. At 11:34am on 26 Jan 2011, Alan Baker wrote:
    So we still have a “World service” all paid for solely by the British licence / Tax payer, what a novel idea, now why has no one thought of that before?.

    What do you mean still? It was and still is funded by the Foreign Office.

    "Last October the government announced the BBC would take over the cost of the World Service from the Foreign Office from 2014."

  • Comment number 50.

    Yes, but if the view is that they should not there needs to be two changes, the first being that the required funding is taken from the Overseas Development Budget. The second is that all the New Labourites should be moved out of the BBC, and replaced with people who can report without putting their own political spin on the news.

  • Comment number 51.

    Stop sending everyone and his donkey to cover every event in the US and you'll have more to spend on 'Cinderella' areas and services!

  • Comment number 52.

    Absolutely the right decision. In a world of austerity cuts, the BBC must be seen to be making an effort to cut down on its cost to the taxpayer. I understand that the World Service is Government funded and its costs are not supported by the licence-fee payer, but who funds the Government?!
    A major streamlining of BBC services is long overdue, especially when hordes of reporters/technicians are sent to the most exotic of locations to cover some remarkably bland non-stories!
    The World Service is a supremely excellent service, but with modern technology advancing in leaps and bounds (with news available on your phone!), it needs to face up to its future.

  • Comment number 53.

    7. At 11:43am on 26 Jan 2011, RightWingIDBanned wrote:The dreaded World Service. I prefer to watch something in a language I don't understand a word of to that drivel. Get rid completely and consign it tot he same bin as radio 5 and upwards and all the other minority interest garbage.
    ----------------------------------

    I agree. Get rid of it. The BBC has lost its claim to be the source of truth and objectivity, and licence payers should not pay for a news outlet that is biased. Tough about the jobs, but when has the BBC ever supported those who are fighting to keep their jobs in other industries.Always on the side of the employers. Bye bye.

  • Comment number 54.

    This is a big mistake in many countries the B.B.C. is the voice of freedom and truth . Many people only listern to the world service.How will our friends know whats happening in they country without the B.B.C.???

  • Comment number 55.

    As a once avid SW listener at home and abroad, my response is: so what.

    Sadly, the world has moved on, the existing service is only so so.

    Anybody concerned about this should get their old SW radio out, sample what's out there, and look at the huge range of news services on satellite and on the internet

  • Comment number 56.

    I would half the BBC income as it now covers so much downmarket output that is better provided by the private sector. £46m is a start but only a start.

    "anotherfakename wrote: [Radio 4] is of interest to 0.000000000000000001% of the population."

    Nonsense. Radio 4 is the only intelligent radio channel on air. The rest of the output is music or drivel for kids. Your own numbers show the point neatly as 0.000000000000000001% of the population translates to very much less than 1 whole person and as most people I know like Radio 4 your figures are both incorrect and impossible.

    Perhaps if you listened to the varied academic, educational and serious output of Radio 4 (avoiding by all means the lovies and lefties) you would be able to see the systemic error in what passes for your thinking machinery?

  • Comment number 57.

    The world will be the poorer without those services.

    The familiar chimes and theme tune used to be a beacon of stability and hope to many around the world, and having travelled myself, it was always comforting to know when you hear the BBC World Service all is well at home.

    pip pip pip, tah dah ta ta ta dah ta dah, BBC World Service at its best, maybe instead of cuts, rediscovering its roots is needed.

  • Comment number 58.

    Love all the BBC knockers, no doubt they get the news they want from Fox, after all its fair and balanced. As far as I'm aware this outdated product of our colonial past is the most listened to broadcaster world wide....strange that. oh yes it has a segmented audience, but 250 million not bad.

    This is a disaster in the making, so we have lost our influence in the world?, not with this audience, but we will as these cuts take effect.
    And when something goes wrong worldwide, many people contact the BBC rather than their own local media, WHY.

    for those Fee knockers, I for one have no wish to pay Murdoch style prices for the BBC, and those stupid enough to think the commercial channels are free are barking mad, you should look at the budgets for TV advertising of motor manufactures and detergent companies, we pay for it every time we shop. Buy a new car, over £1000 has gone to TV advertising.

    The average household pays more for commercial TV than it does for ALL the BBC's services. Keep the world service intact, in fact expand it, easy to fund it, stop sending junkets from Whitehall overseas on dubious pretexts. video conference instead.

  • Comment number 59.

    • 49. At 1:00pm on 26 Jan 2011, Nakor wrote:
    5. At 11:34am on 26 Jan 2011, Alan Baker wrote:
    So we still have a “World service” all paid for solely by the British licence / Tax payer, what a novel idea, now why has no one thought of that before?.

    What do you mean still? It was and still is funded by the Foreign Office.

    "Last October the government announced the BBC would take over the cost of the World Service from the Foreign Office from 2014."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Oh Dear, Let’s try again for the hard of understanding.

    1/ The foreign office does not have any money of its own.

    2/ The government do not have any money of it’s own.

    3/The BBC DO NOT have any money of their own.

    4/ No public funded organisations has any money of their own.

    It’s all taxpayers money, it comes from the large amount of taxes that are ripped of us every where we turn in this country.

    So it’s not funded by the foreign office, the government or the BBC, It’s funded by the taxpayer, do you understand now.

  • Comment number 60.

    The BBC is going down the drain, first the incessent adverts on TV and now the world service, what next?

  • Comment number 61.

    The BBC should close all 32 of it foreign language services. Why should the UK TV licence payer be paying for it or indeed as previously the taxpayer? They could raise funds to pay for it by subscription from its advocates and users but I do not want to pay for it.

  • Comment number 62.

    #1 CoeurDeHamster

    I agree the BBC has forsaken its privileged position, although, simply by virtue of what the British Broadcasting Corporation is, it should still be a valuable source of news and information. If slimming down is what it takes to restore the BBC to a service rather than a lot of highly paid members of the chattering classes then let the BBC lose all the fat it needs to. The BBC Board should remind its members and its staff that many of them are responsible for failing their public, the people who pay their wages, in fact the whole darned show. The BBC Board should also remember that the cuts in World Service are down to extravagances they have shown elsewhere.

    My personal view is the BBC should exist on a license fee that is less than £1 per week, and that we need more public service broadcasters in the sector challenging the BBC's waning hold on integrity, honesty, openess and excellence. It is a shame the World Service has to be trimmed rather than a lot of senior managers being shown the doors.

  • Comment number 63.

    "Do you agree with BBC World Service cuts?"
    "costs £272m a year, and has an audience of 241 million worldwide" - HYS:

    While I agree that the BBC does a good job in SOME areas of the 'World Service', there is also MUCH of it that CAN be cut. For instance excessive PC and excessive Democracy-pushing - that only serves to anger MANY World listeners and makes us more enemies.
    The British public also have enough financial problems, without being asked to pay for the 'World Service'- which is of no benefit to US.

    Likewise, I also think the BBC should cut it's Domestic UK PC, Minorities & Feminine bias in it's Programming to a great extent too. It's just making the BBC a laughing-stock and causing Societal Male / Female divisions.

    We are not Children and the BBC should not act as our subliminal 'Educators' - we have a Government for THAT job...

  • Comment number 64.

    2. At 11:19am on 26 Jan 2011, Trench Broom wrote:
    Well, it's a start. If we can't bring down the out of control, arrogant, left wing behemoth that is the BBC, then death by a thousand cuts is the alternative.

    I know the BBC previously cut some of their language services in Europe to fund their Arab and Farsi services. Seems to me today's BBC doesn't even represent Britain and would sooner cut the English service than the Arab one.

    -----------
    Wow, they must be really left wing and out of control if they give space on their website to this kind of drivel.

    Tell me, how else can the BBC represent Britain to the many people who speak Arab or Farsi if it is not through these languages on the world service? I suppose they could just shout 'Thought for the day' in an increasingly loud voice and if they still don't understand they could throw plastic chairs and beer bottles at them?

    Kay Burley wasn't even able to travel to Rothbury without offending the locals so don't kid yourself that the BBC's only competitor (Sky News) could represent Britain abroad.

  • Comment number 65.

    MR . TRUCULENT SAYS.

    The BBC is funded in several ways.
    The domestic radio and TV is funded by the TV licence.
    BBC World Service (radio) is funded by a government grant.
    and BBC World, now called BBC World News is funded by advertising.
    because of this we can not watch BBC World News in this country.This is outrageous, I would prefere to watch BBC World news than our domestic news,as it tells you more world important news. The home news is the same every day. I am sick of hearing about pedophiles, If they can not find a male pedophile then they find a woman or europian Do not get me wrong I detest pedophiles , but it is forced down you several times a week. This has led to pearents becoming too protective . In the second world war children were sent from majour cities to live in the country side .They either enjoyed it if they lived with a good family. Or they hated it because they were abused . Do not tell me there were less pedophiles then than there are now because I would not believe you.
    BBC WORLD SERVICE RADIO would have been good during the Cold war or WW2.
    We must remember now a lot more people in the world speek English now.
    I think we should may be cut back on certain foriegn speeking countries. The bbc has already done this in western europe , but still use the transmitter to speek in English. However countries whoes second language is French or do not speek English very well should not have there service cut.
    As the government is freezing the licene fee, I personally think the BBC should consider letting companies sponser tv programes, but not advertise in the middle of a program.
    If you are cleaver enough you might be able to control your satellite dish so you can aim it at the Hotbird satellite and be able to watch BBC World news in this country.
    The BBC WORLD SERVICE RADIO is an international institute, do not kill it off. As I surgested above the BBC must consider other money raising options to prevent it from being decimated.......

    E&OE MR. TRUCULENT.

  • Comment number 66.

    1. At 11:14am on 26 Jan 2011, CoeurDeHamster wrote:

    Now? Well, most people don’t get their news by radio. Mobile phones, Internet, Television all provide news feeds that are used more than radio. Also, Britain is no longer looked upon as a great world-leading country. And, sorry BBC, but you are no longer looked upon as a quality unbiased news vendor. Technology advance accounts for the first. Some would say that “cycles of history” explain the second. But you are the only ones to blame for the third.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Agree 100% with this, and here's an example of why. Articles about the alleged 'obesity epidemic' invariably open with some throwaway, 'chatty' variation on 'Everybody knows we're in the grip of an obesity crisis' or 'Experts are all agreed that Britons are getting fatter'. In fact, even the Government's own figures suggest that across all categories, including children, the obesity rates have levelled off and / or begun to decline in the last 3-5 years, so the idea that we should remain concerned about an exponentially upward trend is pure propaganda. There are plenty of sociologists and medical researchers alike, who have produced research challenging the extent and / or risks of the 'crisis' and arguing that it's been exaggerated and blown out of proportion into a classic moral panic, so there are plenty of experts who don't toe the line - also, I hasten to add, completely sidelined by the BBC. A headline screaming "50% of Britons are obese!" neglects to tell the whole story by ignoring the facts that: a) 30% of those are in fact defined as 'overweight', a distinctive category which for journalistic purposes has been merged into the scarier-sounding 'obese'; b) of the remaining 20%, most will be in the BMI 30-35 category, which several studies have corellated with longer lifespans and reduced morbidity, and c) those of BMI 40+ who are disproportionately featured in 'shock docs' and the photos accompanying news articles, and who most people would regard as 'fat' make up only a tiny fraction of the population and certainly not one that merits the sort of witch-hunt / moral panic that's been whipped up, for goodness knows' what reason, by the BBC.

    Why no balanced critique of a Government obesity expert's completely unsupported assertion that a healthy ten year-old should be whippet-thin with visible ribs? Why no invitation to eating disorder groups to oppose such a clearly dangerous and extremist position? I suspect that the BBC takes more liberties where this particular topic is concerned because most of those reading won't complain about flawed methodology provided it generates the sort of copy which in turn confirms their own (considerable) prejudices. Nevertheless, the invariably superficial, sensationalised and hugely biased treatment of a topic in which I have a good subject knowledge has completely destroyed any confidence I ever had that the BBC is presenting other elements of the news agenda with which I am less familiar in an appropriately balanced and non-partisan fashion. In this instance a biased tone is distorting public opinion and may even result in illiberal, knee-jerk public policy, and is therefore every bit as dangerous as the agenda-setting of which the Murdoch empire stands (rightfully) accused by the Left. Whilst normally opposed to public sector cuts, particularly ideologically-motivated ones, I do think it's time for a good clear-out and redefinition of priorities at the Beeb, to shake certain parts of it out of a comfortable complacency under which impartiality and journalistic rigour have become meaningless platitudes with which to dismiss the genuine complaints of license-payers.

  • Comment number 67.

    Do you agree with BBC World Service cuts?

    If it helps reduce the exhorbitant licence fee for a miserly two full-time and two-part general entertainment channels, yes, otherwise I couldn't care less.

  • Comment number 68.

    Why are the British taxpayers funding broadcasts to other countries ? India Pakistan, Africa et al can well afford to finance and produce their own radio programmes if they need them . The British taxpayer should not be funding broadcasts to Asia , Africa and any other place the BBC sees fit. If 5 stations took 650 people to run them at a cost of £46 million then 32 stations must need about 4000 people at a cost of £236 million ; what a gross waste of public money, ; those responsible should be sacked.

  • Comment number 69.

    lets face it,governments in the past especially the tories have been the bbc's biggest fan,so why the change in support,is there a reason the public are not privvy ?

  • Comment number 70.

    People who bash the BBC obviously haven't seen Fox News.

    We should be lucky we have the BBC. I for one am.

    I guess everyone else wants their news casts to consists of hosts screaming down others if they don't follow their right wing fascist Hitler-esque agenda.

  • Comment number 71.

    I have a genuine question....Does the BBC operate fully on license fee or does it get some additional Government finance?

    What concerns me is whether the BBC will receive the full collective amount from fee payers without the government siphoning off some cash to pay the deficit.

    If the government is retracting additional funds then I have less of a problem with it, but I still think that the BBC brings the greatest amount of impartiality to the world. Though my view of that might be biased.

    If the Government are snatching some cash from license fee payers, then I would prefer to pay less and give the government nothing.

  • Comment number 72.

    The World Service is the only source of information that can be considered remotely reliable in many parts of the world, and it is important not just to the BBC's reputation but also to the UK's global standing. This international service should not be left to British licence-payers to fund.
    If cuts in language services are needed, why not cut Gaelic and Welsh language broadcasting instead? Unlike many listeners to the World Service, everyone who speaks these languages is also fluent in English - they just prefer not to speak English. Why should the licence-payer have to support extra services for what are now just 'hobby languages'?

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes, the bbc should close. But not due to money. I have read the bbc for years now, and I have noticed that it has a socialist slant, or aggenda.
    UNless the bbc stops attempting to persuade it's writers to slant their views towards socialism, they should close.

  • Comment number 74.

    Yes,the Empire vanished a long time ago.
    Sadly,the BBC is not the unbiased organisation that it used to be.I refer to the item on the News earlier today about Control Orders and the soothing,sympathetic piano music in the background.I really did struggle to work out where the sympathies of the BBC lay......................

  • Comment number 75.

    It is not quite true that “people access news quite freely on the Internet, from all over the planet.” Some countries actively block just plain news from unbiased news sites like the BBC. There is nothing the BBC can do about that. The fact that the blocking continues says something doesn’t it?
    I almost completely agree with “When I was abroad it was one way of keeping up with an unbiased account of news in the world. No doubt the void will be filled by a less able service.” The web is taking over from radio as the mobile phone is taking over from land lines. Faster in underdeveloped countries than those with constructed infrastructure.
    It is not true that ‘the internet’ equals good information. I back the concept that the difference between now and two hundred years ago is that then, people knew that they were badly informed, whereas now we often think we have good instant information when what we do have in reality is produced by spin-doctors or biased by news blackouts.
    Maybe the BBC world service started with Empire but it certainly is not continuing with that notion. The BBC has (still) got a great reputation (which is allied to (and helped to build) the British reputation) if there was some global organisation to pick up the torch of clear unbiased information then it would be acceptable to cut back – but there is no one. Al Jazeera is getting closer but it has a long way to go. The spread and intensity of the BBC correspondents is unequalled. The BBC independence is rarely equalled.
    The call for democracy in the world is fine, but uniformed voters are useless. The BBC access afforded by the world service and web site are helping to make democracy meaningful and desired by those who do not have it. They should continue and be improved.

  • Comment number 76.

    About time, we should be spending our licence fee on ourselves. We are no longer a colonial power, so we do not owe anyone else the right to receive news and entertainment services.

  • Comment number 77.

    Do you agree with BBC World Service cuts?
    Yes.
    I am Canadian, but each and every day, I turn to the BBC for news that is current and accurate. Thankfully, I will not be affected by the closure of five of its 32 language services, but I feel for the people that will be affected.
    The BBC said it had to make savings after its government support was cut, but unions called the move "ferocious". I wouldn't call the move "ferocious". BBC has a budget; it must live inside its budget, and therefore it must cut what it can while limiting impact on listeners, viewers and readers.

  • Comment number 78.

    In the wider world in 2011 is the World Service still needed?The simple answer is no.The Internet has made it a relic.

  • Comment number 79.

    I've never really quite understood the purpose of the World Service. I always presumed it was to provide news from home to diplomats etc around the world. On that basis why is there a multi-language output? With modern satellite technology isn't it time the whole service was closed down? Anyone wanting to listen to BBC ouput abroad can do so via the internet or satellite broadcasting.

  • Comment number 80.

    Cut the lot!

    The British Broadcasting Corporation is paid for by the British and should serve English speaking people in Britain.

    There should be no radio/TV in other languages apart from independent commercial radio if they can make it pay. Possible exceptions could be made for Welsh and Gaelic, but really, people speaking those languages should be moving into the 20th century.

  • Comment number 81.

    If the loss of the BBC World Service is the result of freezing the licence fee for the next 6 years then I believe that it is a price worth paying in this age of austerity.

  • Comment number 82.

    The BBC world service:
    Once broken, it'll be very difficult, and probably impossibly, to put back together again. Like any institution of a previous age - but in this case, one that brings Britain untold benefits around the planet.

    It Britain has progressed too far on it's downward path from the days when it (questionably) ruled the world, well so be it. But it's another sign of decline, and of consigning Britain to further irrelevance.

    All the more curious coming from a conservative government.

  • Comment number 83.

    Its no great loss, certainly i dont want to see people loose jobs etc but its one really dull and boring station. in this day and age people tend to use the web, rather than tune into radio for news. The bbc are right to cut it, along with numerous other complete pointless shows and stations. Why do we send news reporters to every corner of the globe to cover news, i mean, by standing inxt to the hollywood sign reporting on some trivial nonsense isnt a good use of licence fee is it now. news 24 is just different presenters spouting the same news in loop. err why not go back to the morning lunch evening reports.these presenters are paid £100k upwrads for sitting on their bums reading autocue !!! not hard is it

  • Comment number 84.

    If the audience figures were small for these services, then fair enough. But we're talking many hundreds of thousands - 850,000 for one station. The World Service is perhaps the easiest route for the government to promote British interests, but alas the Tories seem determined for the UK to shrink away from the world and retreat into our island fortress. All hail the Chinese Xinhua media agency.

  • Comment number 85.

    it is not just a matter of cuts,funding,money,etc..it belongs to us,we pay for the beeb it is a beacon of our freedom,the world service is a voice of hope to the opressed it is a symbol a statment,albeit verbal,
    of our intent and support of democracy,may be the beeb should be ring fenced from the cuts on the grounds of its importance around the world.
    it cannot just be about money,we as a nation must see this,the world service "MUST"be allowed to carry on. i have been critical of aunty in the past and the present and will be again in the future no doubt,but i do believe and support her 1000%.viva the beeb.......

  • Comment number 86.

    The world service is a political entity, and if needed by our government it should be funded by general taxation not specifically by licence fee payers.
    I also have a problem about licence fee payers funding many numerous low quality stations, as a public broadcasting company it would be better to provide a single station providing quality programmes for the others to aspire to.

  • Comment number 87.

    It is sad that the BBC is closing service in regions where it is most needed. BBC gives people the truth, especially in countries where government news sources are nothing more than pamphleteering and propaganda.

  • Comment number 88.

    47. At 12:58pm on 26 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:
    26. At 12:25pm on 26 Jan 2011, devilzadvacate1 wrote:

    ...................................................

    Not everybody is forced to buy a TV licence; owning a television is not compulsory.
    Unfortunately not owning a TV is not an excuse...


    A TV Licence is not just for TV sets
    From the BBC website.

    Watching TV on the internet
    You need to be covered by a licence if you watch TV online at the same time as it's being broadcast on conventional TV in the UK or the Channel Islands.
    Video recorders and digital recorders like Sky+
    You need a licence if you record TV as it's broadcast, whether that's on a conventional video recorder or digital box.
    Mobile phones
    A licence covers you to watch TV as it's broadcast on a mobile phone, whether you're at home or out and about.


    No escape I am afraid.



    Whilst the above is true what should also be noted just for fairness is that you can watch all this content from the bbc online from anywhere in the world, I have whilst on holiday, but then my ip address can be changed at the click of a mouse to be localised to any geographical location. Which means that whilst WE are paying for a licence everyone else on the planet can get it all for free from countless tv catch up services or even the couple of uk freeview online websites that are available. My wife and i are already 1 season ahead of a number of American tv shows. My sister-in law who lives in nebraska watches Eastenders online through iplayer.

  • Comment number 89.

    Best thing to happen!
    What exactly is the BBC World Service? What is its purpose in life?
    Is it supposed to be a reflection of the whole of the UK? - Well no its not, never has. Its a pathetic quasi faded picture of on old picture of England. As far as the World Service is concerned, Britain starts and finishes in the English home counties. It really never did reflect the many nations that make up the UK. If the BBC really want to broadcast news and events to the world, then they can easily do it with the BBC News Channel. At the end of the day the World Service is well beyond its sell by date, either re-invent it into a more acceptable format and finally come out of the 50's ethos

  • Comment number 90.

    I would have liked an even bigger cut. The BBC World Service is a throwback to the days of Empire when Britain had a major influence in the world. It may seem morally superior to broadcast the BBC's take on world affairs to peoples whose leaders deny them information, but it's a luxury we cannot afford and should not be asked to pay for.
    Maybe it's a job for the United Nations to take on (if they could ever agree what version of the 'truth' to broadcast).......

  • Comment number 91.

    'London Calling'

  • Comment number 92.

    Is BBC running out of "other peoples money"? Didn't Margaret Thatcher once say something along that line?
    Who mentioned FOX? I'm sure they would do some pruning if they were losing money due to listener satisfaction, after all they're not public funded, so they have to be able to earn enough to stay in business. That's how the free market works, it's based on consumer satisfaction, not imposing a government agenda.

  • Comment number 93.

    What exactly is "English for the Caribbean"? Is it English as spoken by Bob Marley soundalikes? I guess the transition to plain English will be less painful for them than for the Albanians.

  • Comment number 94.

    The BBC is no longer the internationally respected organisation it once was and in several parts of the world Al-Jazeera has become the primary source of international news and current affairs for those with an interest in such things.

    Many years ago when I was living in the Middle East most of the locals considered the BBC to be the only source of news they could trust and this attitude survived up until the late 1990s; the last time I visited the Middle East a couple of years ago all of the friends I visited had switched to Al-Jazeera and very few of them had anything good to say about the BBC. I also noticed the same shift the last time I visited my family in India.

    Over the last decade the BBC has lost what little independence it once had and these days it is little more than the official propaganda arm of the UK government. I have been a lifetime defender of the BBC but even I have found that I watch and listen to far less of their news output these days and that I quite often find myself questioning the accuracy of their reports and getting increasingly annoyed at the blatant bias that appears in so much of their output.

  • Comment number 95.

    Its sad that one of the few remaining things this country can truly be proud of on a world stage, is going the same way as the rest of our once world leading symbols of GB.

    Downhill, sold off, scrapped


  • Comment number 96.

    54. At 1:08pm on 26 Jan 2011, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    This is a big mistake in many countries the B.B.C. is the voice of freedom and truth . Many people only listern to the world service.How will our friends know whats happening in they country without the B.B.C.???
    ---------------------------------
    The BBC may once have been the voice of freedom and truth, but sadly today it is riddled with political bias, tabloid trivia and plain inaccuracy. Many of its presenters can't even speak correct English, so goodness knows how they cope with foreign language broadcasts.
    If there is a need for a world information service, the world should pay for it. Not the British taxpayer.

  • Comment number 97.

    Do you agree with BBC World Service cuts?
    Most definately Yes!
    Nothing in life is free.
    If the people of overseas country want to listen to the BBCs left wing bias.Let them pay.
    BBC News has its ageist, Guardian, Independant agenda as much as Mr Murdoch.
    The money saved could be put into BBC2.This channel has become SKYone on a good day.More repeats than a raddish sandwich!

  • Comment number 98.

    Good. Get rid altogether. A load of arty PC left wing drivel.

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes the BBC is correct. The BBC World Service is nothing but a part of the propaganda arm of the British government. If the government wanted to retain it they should have funded it rather than forced the BBC to do so. A typical pyrrhic victory for the BBC haters in all the political parties.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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