31 March 2014: Foreign Affairs Committee announces Foreign Secretary should protect World Service interests by Holding “The BBC’s Feet To Fire”.
A report was published on the final day of the Foreign and Commonwealth office’s funding responsibility for The World Service. Regrets were expressed regarding a loss of direct representative voice on The BBC Executive Board or Management board for The World Service. The Foreign Affairs Committee was direct in expressing it has “clear differences” with The BBC regarding these new methods for governance of The World Service. It questioned whether interests of this distinct arm of The BBC will be safeguarded by the Director of News and Current Affairs at the Board level.
The World Service, long considered as having done an outstanding job at protecting The UK’s values abroad, was described by Sir Richard Sir Richard Ottaway, Chairman of the Committee, as an essential part of the country’s ‘soft power’.
James Harding, Director of News and Current Affairs, assured The Committee that the 2014-15 budget of 245 million pounds will be used as a guideline for the minimum in funding over the next two years.
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