The World Service has a unique ethos little understood in the UK. Most people in Britain know of, but seldom listen to, the English language radio service – but the bulk of the weekly 180 million audience to listen in their own languages – 45 of them a decade ago, 31 of them today, 26 of them following last week's cuts.

Anger was growing last night as politicians, unions and the BBC criticised the Government’s savage cuts to the BBC World Service, which will be forced to lose a quarter of its staff. Following a 16 per cent cut in its funding from the Foreign Office, the broadcaster confirmed yesterday that there would be 650 jobs going and cash savings of 20 per cent over the next three years.

This will make the corporation drop five of its language services, end radio programmes in seven languages affecting major countries such as China and Russia, and reduce broadcasts of most short wave and medium wave radio services.

The BBC said it expected the World Service’s audience would fall by more than 30m from its current weekly audience of 180m as a result of the changes. Peter Horrocks, BBC global news director, said it was a “painful day” for the World Service.

This week a national and international love object will feel the chill of the government's need to cut the deficit. The BBC's World Service, broadcasting to 180 million people in 32 languages, and until 2014 still funded by the Foreign Office rather than the licence fee, will take its share of the pain.

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy in cooperation with Deutsche Welle released a report on "China in the News: A Comparative Analysis of the China Coverage of BBC World Service, CNN International, and Deutsche Welle".

December 20, 2010

China as covered by the BBC, CNN, and Deutsche Welle.

Mark Thompson last week used his first speech since the government's dramatic decision to freeze the licence fee for six years to welcome the World Service back into the BBC fold...The problem is that by the time it takes on responsibilty for the organisation, it may already have shrunk as a result of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) cuts.