Financial Times, 23 July 2010
, Ben Fenton: BBC director general Mark Thompson "dismisses the idea that the BBC’s free internet news prevents the Murdoch newspapers from successfully charging for their content. 'Does that follow? Is it credible that every single provider of news in the world is going to go behind a paywall? I mean there are plenty of news sources with sovereign funds backing them – Al Jazeera is just one example – who do not need to go behind a paywall. Actually, if the BBC helps create a climate in this country where people are really interested in news, it’s probably going to be good for UK newspapers. American newspapers are not having any more luck with this than UK ones, rather less so actually and the BBC does not loom large in America.' ... 'We’re prepared to go to the stake for the BBC’s impartiality,' says Thompson, who in January 2009 refused to broadcast an appeal for refugees in Gaza for this reason. He adds that it is critically important that the organisation remains independent of government too, and is proud of the broadcaster’s reputation abroad. 'We’re still on the world’s front lines,' he says, 'In Afghanistan, on the radio, we are a really critical part of the supply of news.' He also points to countries such as Somalia, 'where the BBC Somalia service is basically it'." -- So VOA Somali, presumably, is not "it."