Sunday, 15 July 2012
Jonathan Freedland is right to warn of the probable protracted emasculation of the BBC World Service (Guardian 14 July 2012: This world class institution explains Britain to the world). Its role has been vital in providing those living in countries where news and information was scarce or distorted with a more objective picture. It knew that it had to report broadly and truthfully to maintain credibility, and it used journalists who knew first hand the countries on which they reported. It is a pity, however, that British listeners of the BBC are provided with a much more bland and tendentious news and information service than the better informed World Service listeners. It is also true that, despite its worthy reputation, it also pursued an establishment political agenda. Broadcasts to communist countries were also aimed at undermining. Blacklists were used to filter those employed by the BBC and, certainly in the case of broadcasts to East Germany, the Corporation was not averse to making up their own ‘listeners letters’ as they received so few! I only wish we here in the UK could receive World Service news bulletins instead of the superficial fare we are invariably fed.