Speaking to Iran
We have announced today that the BBC is going to launch a TV news and information channel for Iran in early 2008. It will be broadcast in Farsi (Persian) and will be distributed free by satellite.
It's the latest in a number of initiatives to develop the BBC World Service from a radio-dominated operation into a multi-media service for key international audiences. Last year we closed 10 radio language services to be able to re-invest the money in an Arabic TV channel and in improved internet services. This time the British government is paying the full cost of Farsi TV.
Television is increasingly the dominant way people in the Middle East, Iran and many other parts of the world receive their news. We have had a successful Farsi radio broadcast to Iran for more than 60 years and, more recently, on the internet as well - although recently the Iranian authorities have sought to block the internet site. However if we are to continue to maintain our audience reach in the region, it is essential we move into TV.
The service will reflect the BBC's core editorial values of impartiality and fairness and crucially bring a broad range of international reporting to an audience which cannot always get access to free and independent information.
Although the service is funded by the British Government, as is the rest of the BBC World Service, the new channel will of course be editorially independent. Since the launch of the World Service in 1932, successive British governments have recognised that for the BBC's international news to be credible, trusted and respected by diverse audiences around the world, it must be truly independent.
The BBC's Global News services comprise the World Service in English and 32 languages, the internet news site accessible overseas and BBC World TV news. Altogether 210 million people each week get their news from the BBC - and that number continues to grow. We live in a more complex, interconnected, world than ever, wrestling with issues like international terrorism, climate change, globalised trade and economics. As a result, we are finding more people want international news than ever before.