Our hyper-connected world has put more power in the hands of individuals and other non-state actors – from NGOs like Greenpeace to transnational terror groups like the so-called Islamic State. Over the past decade, foreign ministries have responded by becoming increasingly sophisticated in their communication strategies. Diplomats need to communicate directly with foreign publics to explain foreign policies, and to mobilize governments and civil society to support their aims.
The UK must embrace culture at a time when working together is “more necessary and more urgent than ever”, the BBC’s director-general has said, as he launched a UK-wide creative partnership. As he announced Culture UK with the arts councils of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Lord Tony Hall called for Britain to become the world’s most “culturally engaged and creative country, where everybody, wherever they come from, can take part”.
To mark a new season of India-focused programmes, BBC World News and BBC.com are hosting a special event with leading tech journalist and BBC Click presenter Spencer Kelly. Kelly is in Bengaluru, covering the latest in Indian technology for two special episodes of the BBC show Click, to be aired as part of the BBC’s international news channel’s India Direct season, broadcasting in March.
The BBC World Service has outlined plans to increase the number of languages in which it broadcasts from 29 to 40 – in a drive to reach half a billion people across the world by 2022. It is the biggest expansion of the broadcaster in more than 70 years, and a signal that Britain aims to exercise its soft power more vigorously.
Beginning Saturday, the BBC World Service is trying something new. Or, at least, newer. A new weekly radio and digital program, "World Hacks," will look at the problems facing the world along with the people who are trying to fix them. [...] Instead, "World Hacks" focuses on those problems and their solutions.
The expansion is a result of a funding injection of 289 million pounds ($360 million) until 2020 announced by the government last year. The boost reversed a previous decision to cut World Service funding and was part of a broader strategy to increase Britain’s ‘soft power’.
In the next few years, the UK’s constitution will be re-shaped. As a nation, we are yet to recognise the enormity of this. It’s exciting - and terrifying. And this includes the BBC. Why? Not only because it is the single most important media operation in the country, but because it belongs to the peoples of these islands and is part of our informal constitution.
The precise ramifications of the Brexit vote will take a while to shake out, but many people overseas have interpreted it as the UK pulling up the drawbridge and retreating from its international role. This is both unfortunate and troubling. We must show everyone that we are more committed than ever to international cooperation economically, militarily and, above all, through our “soft power.”