The bigger picture – making sense of a changing world
A strong network of more than 50 bureaux around the world... enabled the World
Service to provide an unrivalled offer of dependable news and current affairs
This year especially, the commitment to providing depth, context and analysis alongside accurate and impartial information has been crucial. A strong network of more than 50 bureaux around the world, together with experts and analysts at Bush House, backed up by the outstanding capability of the BBC Monitoring team at Caversham, enabled the World Service to provide an unrivalled offer of dependable news and current affairs.
Hundreds of partner stations and rebroadcasters opted
in to the special programming in English, including more than 60 additional public radio stations in the USA
The attacks on the United States of America on 11 September and the subsequent conflict in Afghanistan placed unprecedented demands on the World Service. Within minutes of the first hijacked plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Centre, North America Business correspondent Stephen Evans was reporting from the foot of the South Tower, the beginning of the World Service's special 40-hour broadcast – the longest in its history.
In the days and weeks that followed, BBC World Service kept its listeners informed with
eye witness reports from around the world and programmes of debate and discussion that reflected differing views. Hundreds of partner stations and rebroadcasters opted in to the special programming in English, including more than 60 additional public radio stations in the USA. Such “authoritative, wide-ranging accounts” won the World Service and BBC World the prestigious George Polk Journalism Award in the USA for Radio and Television Reporting.
Conflict Terrorism is not a flesh and blood enemy, it is elusive, an ever-moving target. It might take a root-and-branch remaking of the world order to deliver us from
the threat of terrorism – Allan Little, World Affairs Correspondent and presenterMaking Terror, Breaking Terror
At the One World Broadcasting Awards, the World Service won the Special Achievement Award for 2002, the One World Trust's top honour. Services in Pashto, Persian and Urdu were expanded within days and Arabic news broadcasts increased to 24 hours a day. Baqer Moin, the head of the Persian and Pashto services, received the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's most prestigious honour, the Elizabeth R award, for “the most exceptional contribution to public service broadcasting in the past year.” With the Middle East continuing to occupy a central role in the global agenda, medium wave and short wave transmissions to the region have been enhanced.
“Listeners value the depth and context we provide, and our ability to make sense of what is going on at this extraordinary time.“ Phil Harding, Director English Networks and News
The fact that BBC World Service was the only broadcaster invited by the UN Representative to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, to cover the full inauguration of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan on 22 December highlights its reputation as the world's most respected international news provider.
Nation to nation
The contribution made by BBC World Service's language services to democratic debate
is significant. In areas where people have limited access to information, or the media are
suppressed, these broadcasts give listeners the opportunity to make informed and reasoned
choices. World Service specialist local knowledge offers invaluable insight and support to all
BBC output. The reports of the Persian and African services in the run-up to government
elections in Iran and Zimbabwe were powerful examples of this role.
Economies The Wincott Foundation named Global Business the Best Radio Programme 2001. It highlighted the high level of research and strong production values of the programme. The judges singled out the contribution of the presenter Peter Day to the programme's success, commenting that his reporting style and interview technique ensured each programme was rich in information – Phil Harding, Director English Networks and News
“BBC World Service faced severe difficulties covering the election in Zimbabwe as the government there did not allow any BBC reporters in for the campaign and result. However,
the African Service has two dedicated reporters already based in Harare and Bulawayo
who reported very courageously on the election and its build-up for Focus On Africa and
Network Africa which could then be accessed by the rest of the BBC.” Kari Blackburn,
Head BBC African Service
World Service specialist local knowledge offers invaluable insight and support to all BBC output
With just four staff, the BBC Nepali Service is one of the smallest sections. The sudden deaths of the king, queen and eight other members of the royal family during a shooting at the palace
in June was the biggest story to face the team. They worked around the clock to provide
accurate news and analysis for their own broadcasts to Nepal and for other BBC programmes.
“I was completely stunned when I heard about the deaths of the royal family and felt quite numb. But as a journalist, I had to compose myself to call my contacts in Nepal, conduct
interviews and report what was a major international news story.” Khagendra Nepali, Editor
BBC Nepali Service
Backed by the Serbian section's sources in Belgrade, BBC World Service responded with speed to the breaking story that former president Slobodan Milosevic was being sent to The Hague
to face charges of crimes against humanity. Our language services to the Balkans explored
the legal implications and asked if alleged war crimes committed in their areas might eventually
be held at The Hague too. Comprehensive coverage of the Milosevic trial has been provided
Down to business
As globalisation advances apace, business and economic developments have been propelled
up the news agenda. The slowdown in the global economy, the Argentinian economic collapse,
the Enron scandal and the launch of the Euro all featured prominently. This year, significantly
boosting business content has been a BBC World Service strategic priority. Editions of World
Business Report have been doubled and regionally focused editions introduced for Europe,
South and East Asia. Global Business won the prestigious Wincott Award for the “best business
programme in radio.”
“We see our great strengths as delivering the context and analysis. If anti-globalisation protesters are clashing with police at IMF meetings, we aim to help our listeners to understand
the competing forces of globalisation, economic nationalism and environmentalism, and what's
driving them.” John Renner, Senior Commissioning Editor, News
BBC World Service continued to make a strong commitment to comprehensive
and informed sports coverage
On the ball
BBC World Service continued to make a strong commitment to comprehensive and informed
sports coverage. A new weekly programme, World Football, was launched examining the key
issues facing the world's most popular game. BBC World Service scored again when it won
the broadcast rights to the African Cup of Nations, the continent's biggest sporting event.
Offering the most extensive coverage ever of the biennial soccer tournament, there were
live commentaries from 26 matches in English and hours of programming devoted to the
tournament on the African services.
“While other journalists battled to secure interviews with players and coaching staff outside the normal media briefings, the mere mention of the BBC and especially Fast Track, the flagship
sports programme of the African Service, proved to be the golden key which opened doors.”
Mohammed Allie, BBC reporter in South Africa
Later this year, BBC World Service celebrates its 70th anniversary. Attention, however,
is focused firmly on the future. The launch of a single international news and information
division comprising BBC World Service, BBC World and the international online news services
is imminent. The new division is designed to create a clearer, co-ordinated presence in the
media marketplace and improve the overall impact of the BBC's international news services
with global audiences.