We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
We had a number of discussions on funding for the BBC both with the BBC and with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the context of licence fee discussions.
For those living in countries where free speech is threatened or non-existent, the BBC World Service provides a vital and powerful source of unbiased information. I welcomed the Foreign Secretary's reassurance back in September that the Burma operation is unlikely to face closure, but will the Secretary of State reassure the House that he is working with his Cabinet colleagues and the BBC to ensure that in countries that face significant political upheaval, that voice of independent free speech will be upheld?
I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend about the outstanding beacon for freedom that the BBC World Service represents, not least given the lifeline it offered to the people of Haiti and the 3.1 million people who are reported to use it in Iran. She is absolutely right. If it is any reassurance, closure of any language service must have the written consent of the Foreign Secretary. We are confident that the BBC World Service can sustain its current plans.