bbc world service

City Street

"Individuals are increasingly important to solving some of the world’s most intractable challenges," says Timothy Jenkins.

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.

Short Wave

Kim Andrew Elliott on an international broadcasting Cold War throwback.

BBC Transmitter

Gary Rawnsley has words of caution for the British international broadcaster.

The BBC has warned the government that its global news presence will end up marginalised by overseas rivals such as Russia Today and al-Jazeera unless multimillion-pound cuts are reversed.

At the height of the Cold War, the BBC World Service, Radio Canada International and the Voice of America used high-power, multilingual broadcasts on the shortwave radio bands (1710 kHz–30 MHz) to blast news and information behind the Soviet Union’s “Iron Curtain.” In turn, Radio Moscow, Radio Havana Cuba and East Germany’s Radio Berlin International pumped their own versions of reality to the world via shortwave. 

China’s global image faces challenges - but if asked to choose between its national interests and preserving its national image, China would choose the former. A recent poll conducted by the BBC World Service shows that China’s international image is not that great around the world. Although this year China’s international image is equally divided (42 percent vs. 42 percent) between those who think China’s influence is positive and those who think it is negative, China’s image in Japan and South Korea (two of China’s most important Asian neighbors) is quite negative.

The rest of the world feels more positively about the UK than it has for almost a decade, according to the findings of an international survey. The Country Ratings Poll asked more than 24,500 people from 24 nations whether they felt positive or negative about 16 countries and the EU. The UK finished third, with 56 per cent of those surveyed saying they thought it was having a good influence internationally.

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