BBC World Service

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Lord Truscott Lord Truscott Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the BBC’s World Service as an example of the UK's soft power; and what consideration they have given to providing future direct Government funding of the World Service.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State, The Minister of State, Department for International Development

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office strongly supports the BBC's mission to bring high quality and impartial news to global audiences, including where free speech is limited. As part of this, the BBC World Service brings the UK to the world, providing a link to the UK for people and communities who wouldn't otherwise have this opportunity. This is invaluable for our soft power and influence at an important time.

The British Government is investing £377m during 2016-2021 to support the BBC World Service through the World 2020 Programme, which has expanded the BBC World Service's digital, TV and audio offering. In 2019, this helped the BBC reach a global audience of 426 million people weekly (of which World Service constitutes 319m); a 50m increase on the previous year. Future funding for the Service will be determined at SR20.

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