BBC World Service is at a "credibility crossroads." Or not.

Posted: 17 Sep 2015   Print   Send a link

USC CPD Blog, 10 September 2015, Gary D. Rawnsley: “In announcing the creation of a satellite TV service for Russian speakers and a daily radio news program for North Korea, the Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, is in danger of crossing the fine line between public diplomacy and propaganda. It is surprising that the BBC would wish to single out particular countries that it wishes to target, rather than the language services it wishes to expand, for by doing so the organization cedes ground to its critics around the world who view the World Service as an instrument of British propaganda. These decisions imply that the BBC World Service is connected to a political agenda – something that the organization, and the World Service in particular, has vigorously avoided since its creation. The American Radio Free Asia (RFA) already broadcasts to North Korea as part of its remit to provide news and information to audiences living in authoritarian political systems. RFA is therefore, rightly or wrongly, perceived as a propaganda station with little credibility. The BBC is now in danger of suffering the same fate.” See also comments.

USC CPD Blog, 14 September 2015, David S. Jackson: “Was the BBC World Service ‘an instrument of Cold War politics’? Of course it was, because it showed with every broadcast the reach of British and Western influence. It was also very much ‘a mechanism for the promotion of democracy’ because its broadcasts provided an accurate picture of the world, including the democratic world, so that its international audiences could hear reports of elections and debates and freedom of speech and accountability of government, and then compare that with the systems under which they were ruled. That inherent pro-democracy message is precisely why Soviet authorities jammed Western broadcasters like the BBC and VOA behind the Iron Curtain.” See also comments.