Specially tailored services contributed to the high levels of customer
satisfaction recorded during the year
“The media is more important than it has ever been in influencing opinions,” says BBC Monitoring's Director, Andrew Hills. Through its role as a media monitor, the team at
Caversham, near Reading, offered a unique perspective on the dramatic events of the year.
Accessing the output of over 3,000 sources around the clock – from state-controlled television
to rebel radio and the internet – it has been able to provide rapid and timely news and
information both on breaking events and public reaction to them. “We are giving people, quickly
and comprehensively, a bird's-eye view of what the world's media is saying,” adds Andrew Hills.
BBC Monitoring listens to broadcasts in more than 100 languages from over 150 countries.
The information gathered is translated into English for stakeholders – the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and the BBC World Service
– and customers, including journalists, academics and businesses with international interests.
In addition to the operation at Caversham, BBC Monitoring has bureaux in Baku, Kiev, Moscow,
Nairobi and Tashkent, and smaller units in Belgrade and Cairo. A joint arrangement with the
Foreign Broadcast Information Service in the USA provides comprehensive monitoring across
Through its role as a media observer, BBC Monitoring
offered a unique perspective on the dramatic events of the year
The Tashkent office was well placed to report on opinions from Afghanistan and the Central Asian states following the events of September 11th. Extra staff were sent out to complement
the local team, and a special Afghan Task Force was established at Caversham. A daily Afghan
Digest was also introduced.
A challenging year, dominated by the war on terrorism, and rewarded by increasing recognition and by sustained technological progress – Mike Elliott, Deputy Director
These specially tailored services contributed to the high levels of customer satisfaction recorded
during the year, as did the expansion in electronic delivery from March 2002. The high-quality
information it provides earned BBC Monitoring Online the European Information Association
award in the electronic sources category. Work is underway to make the wealth of data
contained in the Monitoring's Research and Information Unit available electronically, and the
knowledge of BBC Monitoring staff has been utilised to produce a special series of country
profiles for BBCi.
Reinforcing coverage in key areas, improving especially access to Islamic sources, is a priority for 2002. Use of overseas contractors, who can offer access to less obvious sources, is another
means by which political trends and other developments can be spotted early. Further technology
investment and skills enhancement will help to ensure that BBC Monitoring continues to be the
best source of information on what the international media are reporting, and in the process,
promoting a greater understanding of world events.
Sport World Service and football are two international institutions which act as a world's
reference point. So World Football was born, the African Cup of Nations was covered by
the biggest team ever and the English Premiership attracted huge audiences to Sportsworld
and Sunday Sportsworld – David Coles, BBC World Service Editor, BBC Sport