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Listeners split over World Cup coverage

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Cathy Packe | 17:14 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

For what seems like weeks now, the Over To You inbox has been full of World Cup-related comments.

The World Service has been broadcasting a number of programmes designed to bring Africa to the rest of the world - starting with the bus that took some of the BBC's journalists on a journey through west Africa - and other programmes that highlighted the role of football in society as a whole.

Well, all this was too much for some people.


Golden moment: Iniesta's winning goal was watched by millions - but did the World Service coverage cross the line? Picture: Getty Images

Even before the opening ceremony got underway at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, listeners were telling us they were sick of hearing the World Cup trails.

Then - inevitably, I suppose - there were those who said they don't like football and wouldn't be listening to the World Service until it was all over.

And then there were emails saying that the sheer volume of football-related coverage - including special documentaries, editions of World of Music and Heart and Soul and so on - was over the top.

Of course, there have been plenty of others who've praised the high quality of many of the programmes.

I always enjoy reading emails like this, as they often point me towards a programme I've missed. As a result of praise from several listeners, I was able to enjoy a recent edition of World Football, about the importance of football to the prisoners on Robben Island - fascinating stuff.

Anyway, now that it's all over - was there too much football coverage?

That's a question that Tazeen Ahmad, who's presenting Over To You this week, puts to Tony Phillips, the commissioning editor responsible, on this week's Over To You. Judging by the comments you've sent in to us, I don't think everyone is going to agree with what he says. 

Tazeen also talks to Nic Davis, the BBC's reporter in the Caribbean.

It's six months this week since the devastating earthquake struck Haiti, and Nic has been in and out of the country several times since.

He tells Tazeen how the local people have reacted to an invasion of international journalists who then disappear just as suddenly - and he talks about the helplessness that a journalist can sometimes feel in a disaster situation.

And one of our listeners, Hilal Ahmad, talks to the head of news and current affairs at the World Service, Andrew Whitehead, about what he perceives as the lack of coverage of the recent violent clashes in the Kashmir valley. 

Hilal is a Kashmiri Indian, although living in Saudi Arabia, and Andrew knows Kashmir well, having visited the region many times when he was a correspondent based in Delhi.

All of which makes for a fascinating discussion, as you can hear on this week's programme.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


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