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The Big Link-Up

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The Big Link-up


To round off our anniversary season there was a special day of broadcasting based around the theme of "Free to Speak".

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of BBC World Service, we were:
  • In Hong Kong to link up guests and listeners in Asia and Australasia;

  • In Nairobi to speak to people living in the Middle East, Europe and Africa

  • In Philadelphia to hear from people living in the United States and in South America

We visited the most remote radio station in the world, based in Papua New Guinea. We hear from hard to reach places like Cuba, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Ethiopia and Bolivia where we debate issues around the freedom of media, expression and information.

The interactive radio programme World Have Your Say brought together some of the world's most controversial figures to talk about freedom of speech in front of a live audience.

Here are some of the highlights...

75 years

Over the last three months the BBC's Director of News, Helen Boaden, has been presenting short pieces of archive material on a daily basis - as part of our celebrations to mark 75 years of BBC World Service. Called 75 years and starting with 1932 there's been a piece of landmark audio from every single one of those years. Helen Boaden, looks back at some of the highlights of her journey through these key media moments.

Listen to Helen Boaden's audio journey

How technology affects media


During the season we've been talking about freedom of speech and the way attitudes to it have changed in the 75 years since BBC radio began to broadcast internationally. Technology was changing in 1932: a basic form of TV already existed and each medium was to alter journalism and even politics. Then came the internet, which many saw as a valuable new window on the world. But while some argue that the web strengthens democratic debate, others believe it threatens to do it real damage.

Listen to Vincent Dowd's report

Linkups from Kenya and Hong Kong


Listen to Caroline Duffield reporting on how the World Today has been broadcasting from inside Kenya and Hong Kong - asking whether people there are truly free to speak.

Listen to Caroline Duffield

Lebanon's free media


Lebanon has a well-developed, and diverse media. It was the first Arab country to permit private television and radio stations and the organisation, Reporters Without Borders, says Lebanon's media is more free than anywhere else in the Arab world. However, many leading journalists - much like politicians - have been assassinated for expressing their views.

Yolande Knell reports

Chasing satire


In Australia, the country's leading TV satirists have been exploring the fine line of freedom of speech - occasionally crossing it and winning both praise and criticism. They're called the Chasers, and as the title of their TV show proclaims, they've declared War on Everything. The BBC's Nick Bryant went to meet one of the members of the Chasers.

Listen to Nick Bryant's report

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