Calling for the voices of the world!

Campaign to Save the BBC World Service (
Sat, 20 Jul 1996 18:17:28 +0100


STAFF of the respected BBC World Service international radio
station are urging listeners across the world to rally to oppose
changes they believe will wreck it.

Concerned journalists, broadcasters and technical staff at the
London-based station -- heard by 140-million listeners on
shortwave, satellite and local relay in every continent --
believe restructuring plans will end the objectivity and quality
of news, current affairs and other broadcasts universally praised
by audiences.

They've already taken their fight to save the station worldwide
on the Internet. Now they're calling on listeners to add their
voices to the campaign in the crucial next few days.

The World Service is the overseas service of the British
Broadcasting Corporation, whose Director-General, John Birt, has
begun moves for the biggest reorganisation in the BBC's history.
As part of it, the station -- which broadcasts in more than 40
languages -- will be broken up and split between huge new
directorates of the domestic BBC.

"World Service news, arts, business, culture, drama, science,
sport, pop music and religious programmes will no longer be made
by specialists with a global outlook," said campaign coordinator
Stephen Parker. "The current mix of impartial, accurate news with
the best of British culture will probably change beyond

Mr Birt announced the restructuring without warning and without
consulting even the most senior World Service executives. He says
the changes are necessary to prepare the BBC for the age of
digital broadcasting.

A former World Service managing director, John Tusa, has
denounced them as "the greatest act of vandalism" ever
perpetrated against the station. A growing number of leading
figures in Britain have begun speaking out against the changes.

Now the British Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind -- who's
responsible for World Service funding -- has called the Chairman
of the BBC's Board of Governors, Sir Christopher Bland, for a
meeting next Wednesday to discuss the situation.

"Now is the time for concerned listeners to make their voices
heard," Mr Parker said. "That meeting could be crucial in
determining whether the changes continue or are stopped in their
tracks. Messages must reach Mr Rifkind and Sir Christopher before

Listeners can contact the BBC Chairman by fax (on +44 171 431
2022) or email ( The British
Foreign Secretary can be reached by fax on +44 171 839 2417;
Cabinet Office ministers Roger Freeman and David Willetts are on
email: <> and <>.

The Campaign itself is happy to pass on messages. It's on email
at <>.

Details of the Campaign are on the Internet at:

FURTHER DETAILS: Stephen Parker, Save the World Service Campaign,
Room 512 NE, Bush House, PO Box 76, The Strand, London WC2B 4PH,
United Kingdom.
Campaign telephone: +44 171 257 2629.