- 'no foreign language services can be opened or closed without the written authority of the Foreign Secretary'
BBC: World Service
Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria have been used in deciding which BBC World Service language services to cut or reduce; and what weighting is given to (1) the audience numbers, (2) the circumstances of the listeners, and (3) their ability to access other trustworthy sources of news. [HL3811]
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The BBC World Service is managerially and editorially independent and it is for the BBC to decide how services are managed. Under the terms of the broadcasting agreement between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the BBC World Service, no foreign language services can be opened or closed without the written authority of the Foreign Secretary. As part of the BBC World Service's strategy for budget reductions, in January 2011 the Foreign Secretary approved the BBC Trust's proposal to close five services: Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian, Portuguese for Africa and English for the Caribbean.
The decision to close these services and to make changes in other services (including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi and Russian) was based on a number of factors including the relative importance of each market, the availability of other national and regional independent or free media, audience levels and best predictions for future impact.
House of Lords / 10 Dec 2012 : Column WA189