18
Dec
07

Your questions for the head of the BBC World Service

Hello, this is Leonardo here.

The Director of the BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman, has just come to the new WHYS office and answering to some of the questions you sent us. He didn’t have time for all of them, but was keen to come back, perhaps tomorrow.

Keep sending your questions, post here on the blog.

Chernor Jalloh asks:
Mr Chapman,  what does the BBC World Service 75th anniversary mean to you? And should there be a limit to free speech when it comes to religions?

Nigel Chapman: I’m very proud of the fact that the World Service is 75 today. I think it does a great job for millions of people all round the world and I want to make sure it goes from strength to strength. About the limits of free speech, I think we need to be careful to balance the right of people to speak out even about sensitive issues like a person’s religion but never to be offensive or rude or intolerant of people’s differences.

Abdelilah Boukili, in Morocco, asks:
The BBC is going to launch an Arabic TV channel. How distinct is this channel going to be vis-à-vis the existing Middle Eastern Arabic channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya?

What we want to make sure is that the BBC brings a very high quality international news service on television in Arabic to the Middle East. The BBC has a genuinely international perspective on the news and the big events in the world. It’s not rooted in the region itself like some of the channels you mention. I expect a wide agenda and also the ability to reveal news stories especially in the Middle East itself, but also right across the world.

Richard Cuff:
Has the BBC made it easier for governments to silence its voice by giving up short wave?

We haven’t given up on short wave. We still spend millions of pounds on it a year and two thirds of the World Service’s current audience listens on short wave. We always have to think about the fact that governments can take away FM licenses from the BBC and our partners but it’s very difficult to interfere with the reach and power of short wave. So, it’s very important that we keep short wave going where there is clear evidence that people are using it in significant numbers.  

ZK asks:
Mr Chapman, to what extent do you see the World Service playing a part in countries where the media is strictly controlled and in some cases the BBC banned (Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, Iran, Cuba)?

It’s very important that the World Service keeps broadcasting to the countries you mention. Sometimes in English and sometimes also in a language which is relevant to that community. I get a lot of feedback from listeners who rely on the World Service in countries like Burma, Iran, which I recently visited, and right across Africa. We’re all very committed to keeping services for countries like these.  

Hisham asks:
How do you ensure independence from the government, especially the Foreign Office?

Because it’s part of the formal agreement between the BBC and the government and has been for many years. It’s arguably the most important thing about the World Service that it’s independent of all sorts of powerful forces and puts the needs of its audience first. That is proper public service. And it’s vital that we always defend our independence and never let particular groups try and hijack the agenda. 

Muhammad Asim Munir asks:
Dear Mr Chapman, how does the BBC ensure unbiased attitude towards Muslim communities around the world after 9/11?

We need to be very careful that we respect all the many points of view there are about contentious subjects like the world after 9/11 and the role of Muslim communities in it. We regularly monitor our output and always ask the question; are we reflecting these points of view properly and giving people the chance to express themselves and their point of view. At the heart of this is a respect for diversity. With so many of these issues there are not simple answers.

John D. Anthony asks:
When elected officials put their spin on a damaging news item, do you feel the press has the responsibility to speak truth to power and challenge their statements?

The  responsibility of the press is to get to the truth of things. Of course officials want to present the best possible picture and it’s our job to challenge them in a courteous way and ask penetrating questions. It is definitely not our job just to accept what people say – particularly people in power – at face value without very good reasons for it.

Tedla Asfaw, Ethiopian in NYC, USA asks:
Governments in Ethiopia and China are jamming VOA Service transmissions. If you are condoning jamming you are wasting tax payers money…

I don’t condone jamming. I want to make sure everybody who wants to listen to the World Service can do so. We always speak out as a broadcasting organisation to oppose jamming but sometimes our pleas fall on deaf ears. But we will always continue to make the case for openess and access in this area. What governments get wrong is the idea that you can keep the flow of information very tight in an age where more and more people have access to alternative forms of media other than the big state-run services. I always argue to them that trying to restrict access will not work in the end even though it might appear to be working at the moment.


46 Responses to “Your questions for the head of the BBC World Service”


  1. 1 Chernor Jalloh
    December 18, 2007 at 15:10

    Mr Chapman,What does the BBCWorldService75th anniversary mean to you? What message or messages do you have for your listeners on Wednesday the 19th of December?How are you going to celeberate it? You have been accused of being baised both at home and abroad on the way you report the news,do you sometimes feel guilty and regret at all of such allegations? What are the pros and cons that are behind free speech?And should there be a limit to a free speech when it comes to religions? Is there any reason as to why there are job cuts at the BBC,and do you think by doing so will not damage the credibility we your fans have on you,especially when we become familiar to your presenters and reporters? Thank you.

  2. 2 Will Rhodes
    December 18, 2007 at 15:46

    “The 75th anniversary is about freedom of speech.”

    But at what level do you mean? I have just read HYS on the UK version of the BBC website and it seems that one word has been edited, censored out of a song, a classic song at that! That, surely, isn’t freedom of speech – that seems to be blatant censorship – unless it is a matter that Chris Moyles has ‘had it up’em’ and done it himself to get the Prouges to No1 for Christmas? Good ploy if he has.

    Where does the BBC draw its lines regarding freedom of speech? Do we see the classics adapted so it is more palatable to today’s audience, which in itself is odd taking into account what you can see on a normal day of News broadcasting.

    If it is possible at all – could Nigel please define what freedom of speech actually means?

    Thanks.

  3. 3 Barry8
    December 18, 2007 at 16:57

    Freedom of Speech. Whose freedom? We have reports re AIDS and other problems. Reports, when it seems to be news, on Mental Health; in particular PTSD. But nobody is actually ‘restoring patients to normality’ and that means CURING! So we have this enormous problem and little being done. Little is
    anything other than CURE. Well 90% of all STRESS RELATED ILLNESS is
    CURABLE. So why are we not doing it? I try to keep raising the problem but no
    one seems to be listening. Is it that we do not really care? We seem to care
    about the money it obtains – but that is not caring about the people who are
    really suffering. Surely it should not be about the cash in our coffers but the real suffering that sponsors it. The time is now!

  4. December 18, 2007 at 17:34

    The BBC is going to launch an Arabic TV channel. How distinct is this channel going to be vis-à-vis the existing Middle Eastern Arabic channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya?

    What plans does the BBC have to keep its world position in face of competition from rising news channels?

    How do you view the successive reductions in BBC budget? Does it have an effect on its broadcasting quality ? Do you think that the BBC should have more financial resources by resorting to more advertisement on its websites and channels?

    How is BBC world television self-sufficient financially? Are the revenues from advertisement enough? Will this service continue to be free in some regions of the world like North Africa?

  5. 5 gary
    December 18, 2007 at 17:48

    Mr. Chapman,
    Not a question; but a request: BBC is certainly global; but is likely viewed by many as “western (even when presented in other languages).” Please work toward establishing a global “network pro tempore.” Contact ALL the world’s leading radio / satellite / television / internet services to air communicative programming (WHYS format maybe…) to cover issues of vital interest to, and receive the opinions and wisdom from, as many of the world’s people as possible. Time zones, language translatability, and funds to support the effort are important ; but secondary issues. We (the 6.6 billion) have many more commonalities than differences. Since any citizen of the world may (an does) roundly criticize the people of any other country, I believe the equation is not complete unless the critisized people may defend, or humbly apologize for, their positions and actions. It seems to me, if we do not communicate more effectively throughout this world, we will – (Please fill in your personal beliefs concerning the existence of the afterlife and communication opportunities therein.). Maybe a seriously global hook-up and discussion about sport during the Olympics might be an easy starting point.
    later,
    g

  6. 6 vijay
    December 18, 2007 at 18:10

    1.Would n’t the BBC World Service save money ,increase its coverage and improve the quality of the journalists by just keeping administration at Bush House and have everyone else in or near(hubs?) the countries to which you broadcast.?

    Employing people to live and work in the UK and London in particular is expensive and you could probably get 10 journalists in a developing country for every journalist(or technication) you employ in London.

    2.Why dont you have a Punjabi Service for the BBC World Service?

    If there are any issues regarding international security(terrorism) ,migration(human trafficking) narcotics smuggling and human rights(forced marriages, femal foeticide etc..) that you wish to address in the region you have to do it in Punjabi.
    Punjabi is the colloquail language spoken by the common people.
    Formal Urdu and Hindi( the state languages of Pakistan and India )might be all well and good when trying to communicate to the urban elite however they dont really cut it when trying to communicate to rural masses (who are more effected by the regional issues than the urban middle classes) .
    If you do not communicate to them in a language and a style with which the average person can easily relate they will not benefit from the information you have regarding important issues that effect them and the whole world.
    There are over 100million Punjabi speakers worldwide!!! you are missing a large audience.
    I am sure you could cut and paste a lot of programmes from the domestic BBC Asian Network and easily recruit qualified staff from Panjab province(Pakistan) and Punjab state(India)as well as the worldwide punjabi diaspora.

    3.Why do you have so many media stories ?

    The media talking to the media about the media.
    Dont take the “medium is the message” too seriously.

    4.Dont you think there is vagueness creeping in to news coverage ?

    Instead of being specific , a newsreader might say “a town in northern England”. How about following principals of journalism 101 Who, What, When, Where, Why a little more carefully.

    5.In your arts strand why you do you concentrate on the artist ,writer or perfomer instead of the art,book or song they create(re:English-language Service)

  7. 7 Miche Norman
    December 18, 2007 at 19:07

    It seems that there is plenty of space on the BBC website to mourn the deaths of Hammas terrorists and to give copious coverage to the Haj, while at the same time claiming in your section on the “obstacles to peace” Jewish claim to the Western Wall of the Temple. today the center of attention in Mecca was the Prayer – their is no god but Allah, America is the enemy of Allah, Israel is the enemy of Allah, Death to America, Death to Israel. Strangely, when Islam raises its ugly head the BBC seems to be cowered into silence. Why is this?

  8. 8 Fotios Padazopulos
    December 18, 2007 at 21:31

    Regarding your broadcast of today on free speech: it seems to me free speech is a utopia. In the so called democracies of the world where we are encouraged to speak freely, we create enemies by doing so and expose ourselvs to being sidestepped andharassed sometimes even without knowing it. It is also a way for governments to bring out the anticonformists between us. There is more freedom of speech for people of power than for the mass. More or less it the same all over the world except in those few dictatorial regimes.
    saddly, Pericles and his Athenians would shiver from this mockery of freedom.

  9. December 19, 2007 at 07:49

    Dear Mr. Chapman,

    Who is the neocon advocate with the BBC who keeps booking known Israel firsters like JINSA/PNAC/AEI (war for Israel) operatives like Richard Perle whose interview just aired on the BBC World Service moments ago about the following article (one can look up his name in the index of James Bamford’s ‘A Pretext for War’ book and in the index of the recently released Mearsheimer and Walt book as well – see http://www.israellobbybook.com)?

    With kindest regards,

    James Morris
    USA

    Pentagon claims progress in Iraq

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7151157.stm

    Published: 2007/12/19 02:09:05 GMT

  10. December 19, 2007 at 10:02

    Ros,

    My question to Nigel Chapman is: Would my CV get me an interview for a job at the BBC World Service ? I am a regular listener and contributor to the WS and a peerless administrator in my current work.

    Regards,
    David

  11. 11 ZK
    December 19, 2007 at 10:31

    Mr Chapman, to what extent do you see the World Service playing a part (in any way) in countries where the media is strictly controlled and in some cases the BBC banned? I’m thinking Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea in the latter case, but also places like Iran and Cuba.

  12. 12 Marco Rossi
    December 19, 2007 at 10:59

    Mr. Chapman,
    I know you are looking to a wider market now, namely the Internet and the digital, but don’t you think that by doing so the BBC is increasing the so called digital divide phasing out the Short Wave afternoon slot completely? And how about becoming more and more of an elite for the computer literate isolating the majority of the world that listens to the BBC on Short Wave being unable to afford a digital radio set let alone a computer?

    Regards,

    Marco.

  13. December 19, 2007 at 11:07

    Question:
    How practically, do you ensure independence from the government, especially the foreign office?

  14. December 19, 2007 at 11:23

    Mr. Chapman:

    The BBC World Service and other international broadcasters have jeopardized their ability to provide uncensored, uninterruptible broadcasts by abandoning the use of shortwave to reach large parts of the world. Even though shortwave has well-known shortcomings, it nonetheless remains a “delivery platform of last resort” for people who can’t connect to the Internet, people in rural areas beyond the reach of broadband, or people who live in places where Internet access is restricted (such as China). So, two questions:

    1. Has the BBC made it easier for governments to silence its voice by giving up shortwave?

    2. Has the BBC disenfranchised those listeners who prefer to use shortwave as their platform for receiving World Service broadcasts?

    Richard Cuff / Allentown, PA USA

  15. 15 Mohammed Ali
    December 19, 2007 at 11:51

    Congratulations to the BBC on its 75th Anniversary. The BBC has been my most preferred station since I started listening to radio in 1990.
    Mr. Chapman, how does the BBC handles misunderstanding with the British Government without jeopardizing funding from the government. For example, the riot concerning the Andrew Gilligham then reporter of the BBC and government 45minutes weapon claimed against Saddam?

  16. December 19, 2007 at 12:09

    Mr Chapman –
    aside from the discussion about whether public funding of your web-services gives you an unjustified advantage over other online-media news outlets: Do you, as a person deeply involved in the media business, think online advertising revenues will be sufficient for (non-public) news organisations to master the transition from conventional print/TV/radio forms to online? How do you perceive the “threat” of useful internet-user-tools like Adblock Plus, which make it easy to block online advertising completely? What are in your opinion the consequences for the business models of the news industry?
    (note to editors: you can shorten or paraphrase the question if you like)

  17. December 19, 2007 at 12:26

    Mr Chapman,

    I’d like to knoww how the BBC would report should Britain be involved in a major war with another of the world powers.

  18. 18 Muhammad Asim Munir
    December 19, 2007 at 13:14

    Dear BBC and Mr. Chapman! Congratulations to all of you over 70 years of serive. My question to Mr. Chapman is that “How BBC ensures unbiased attitude towards Muslim community across the world after 9/11?” I think the question is a major challenge for western media.

  19. December 19, 2007 at 13:25

    I am still surprised why BBC does not have service in the local langauges in Ethiopia, Oromegna, Amharic, Tigringa etc?

    I would like to know the criteria BBC followed to broad cast progrmas in native langauges? and does it have any plan to reach the second populace country in Africa in the near future?

    The seventy million population can not be ignored as BBC did up to now and it is time to compete with VOA and German Radios.

  20. December 19, 2007 at 13:29

    In my country the main source of information is radios and the short wave radios are the life line for the million in Ethiopia.

    The Melese regime with the help of Chinese are currently jamming VOA Service in local languages, German Amharic and we have not heard the USA or German higher officials wanted to keep quiet.

    If you are condoning Jamming you are wasting tax payers money and suspend the jammed programs and punish the regime.

    Regards,

    Tedla Asfaw

    New York City

  21. 21 John D. Anthony
    December 19, 2007 at 13:58

    Mr Chapman~

    When elected officials put their “spin” on a damaging news item or revelation do you feel that the press has the responsibility to “speak truth to power” and challenge their statements rather than simply accept them as spin and move on to the next question? Are they truly serving the public when they remain silent?

    John in Salem

  22. 22 carlo geneletti
    December 19, 2007 at 14:02

    many so called journalists lie — knowing they do, because they are paid to. Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Murdoch may not always tell journalists what to write, but make sure to influence directly or indirectly the selection and content of news. Rush Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Coultard and the rest are by and large spokespersons for the Republican Party.
    My question to you, sir, is this: couldn’t journalists establish some sort of peer tribunal, which would bar from exercising the profession those who lie, knowingly, for money, or power?

  23. December 19, 2007 at 14:29

    I have not heard any BBC coverage of the FCC regulations passed yesterday concerning big media consolidation. Having Rupert Murdoch own more television, radio and newspapers in one city, for example New York, won’t help promote free speach. In this era when media coverage can be so biased for war as in the run up for the Iraq war we need more diversity in media not less. SJ in Los Alamos New Mexico

  24. 24 wrldpease
    December 19, 2007 at 14:31

    If there are cuts in the BBC due to licensing/taxes whatever, please let those listeners who can around the world send in their contributions–similar to the way they do for NPR in the USA.

    You’re wonderful, warts (very few of them) and all..
    W.

  25. 25 Mick Corrigan
    December 19, 2007 at 15:33

    What is Andrew Gilligan doing these days?

    The reporter who was fired for saying Iraq didn’t have missiles that could hit Britain in 45 minutes?

    He was forced to resign for telling the truth.

  26. 26 Nick Corrigan
    December 19, 2007 at 15:55

    What is Andrew Gilligan doing now?

    The reporter who was fired for saying Iraq didn’t have missiles that could hit Britain in 45 minutes?

    He was forced to resign for telling the truth.

    Are you going to have him back to the BBC to do some more fine, honest reporting?

    Mick Corrigan
    Vermont, USA

  27. 27 Zita
    December 19, 2007 at 15:58

    Dear Mr Chapman,
    Some of your contributors have already echoed my thoughts. The commonest medium of access to bbc world service is the short wave band of radio. I am lucky I use the internet but many people in their late forties and over are not comfortable with the internet. Access to your service is vital. I remember I depended on it for acurate reporting of events in troubled times in Sri Lanka and I knew ‘always the truth from the bbc.’ You are the voice of many depressed nations. So save your short wave service until most of world population become computer literate and can afford internet access especially in the developing world. You are their voice and often their life line.
    Congrats BBC world service!
    Zita

  28. 28 Joey
    December 19, 2007 at 16:09

    This is a great celebration, and thankyou for letting us be a part of it!

    Someone made a reference to the World Service, as having an independent status. I’m wondering if there will ever be an option, to present some “news” or information, that would appeal to all of the World Service listeners? How would you know that, besides asking people what they want to hear? It must be difficult to get everyone on the same page, and as a matter of fact, I’d like to listen to what people in Africa are listening to, and I bet it’s vice versa.
    There probably should be some kind of program that goes out to everyone, but how would you know I guess. Thank you for any ideas.

    Best wishes,

    Joey, Colorado

  29. 29 Ahmed
    December 19, 2007 at 16:12

    I’m an Egyptian living in Dubai
    At least two of the presenters are Egyptian like him but they appear biaised or even fanatical as far as religion is concerned. There is no sense of freedom of religion in their debates — as you could hear in the coverage of Human Rights Day 2 days ago. Do they broadcast from Cairo or London?

  30. 30 Chuck
    December 19, 2007 at 16:20

    Why has almost no mention of the shameful BBC behavior in connection with the September Dossier, Andrew Gilligan and the Hutton inquiry?

    Instead of doggedly pursuing the story of the manipulation of intelligence information by both Washington and Downing Street that has resulted in an illegal and ruinous war, the BBC now treats the subject as if it were poison.

  31. 31 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    December 19, 2007 at 16:31

    First of all, a very happy birthday to the BBC! Long live the BBC! Overall it is THE BEST news organisation in the world.

    “Freedom of the press in Britain is freedom to print such of the proprietor’s prejudices as the advertisers don’t object to.” Hannen Swaffer (1879-1962), British journalist.

    Questions for Mr. Nigel Chapman are :

    While I see Mr. Swaffer’s comments as true for all press & all media all over the world, the BBC is a very unique media organisation.

    The real proprietor’s of the BBC are the taxpayers BUT they don’t seem to have any say in the way the BBC is run. Is that fair? Is there a way to make them have more of a say? Do they need to have a say?

    Putting the Foreign Office & the British government in place of Mr. Shaffer’s ‘advertisers’, I am sure there will be pressure on the BBC on matters which are of national security or where Britain has an interest. How do you and BBC’s staff strike a balance between ‘batting down the middle’ & following the slant which the Foreign Office & the British government would like/expect you to take or may ask you to take?

  32. 32 steve
    December 19, 2007 at 18:13

    VictorK had asked this question previously, but I have noticed when religion is covered on the BBC, if it’s about Judaism, or Christianity, the BBC will say “Jesus, whom Christians believe is the son of God” or “Moses, whom the Jews believe gave them the law” whereas when covered Islam, the BBC will say “The Prophet Mohammed”, such as giving Mohammed reverance, and presuming what is said about him is true, while referring to the beliefs of other religions as alleged beliefs. Why the double standard? Personally I believe that all fictional beliefs should be relegated to the science fiction section of the BBC, but if you talk about it in the news, why not use the same standard for all religions?

  33. 33 steve
    December 19, 2007 at 18:19

    The comment read from Gaza that said that the US doesn’t accept the results of the Hamas (terrorist organization) victory, is going to have to grow up and stop crying like a little girl. You can elect anyone you want, but when you elect terrorists, you aren’t going to get handouts from us. Gonna cry over that? Then don’t elect terrorists.

  34. 34 steve
    December 19, 2007 at 18:22

    As for the comments about Darfur, there is oil there first of all. Second, the reason why the media won’t discuss Darfur as much is because the Arabs will go crazy, and there will be more terrorist actions in the west if anything is done about Darfur. So basically, we’re going to allow a genocide there for fear of making Arabs upset, and so they media can focus on Israel and ignore every other event on earth.

  35. 35 Dolapo Aina
    December 19, 2007 at 18:26

    CLAP, CLAP, CLAP
    The BBC must be applauded for its integrity and objectivity which has been exhibited through the years. I began listening to the BBC in 1992 when I was in my early teens.
    The BBC really came in handy the night the late Sani Abacha seized power in Nigeria. I heard the news early in the morning before the dawn and it was really a shock.. also the news of the release of Alan Johnston was another memorable day because I was in a remote part of Nigeria which had no electricity but the bbc was the first media corporation to disseminate the news. BBC keep it up.

    The BBC is known for precise and accurate news dissemination. How does the BBC correlate so much personnel?

    Also, would WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY still be on air?

  36. December 19, 2007 at 18:35

    Thanks to Director of the BBC World Service, Nigel Chapman for answering my question about BBC plan to launch an Arabic service new satellite TV station in the Middle East . This what I think about this launch.

    The plan to launch an Arabic service new satellite TV station in the Middle East is a good step by the BBC to address an audience whose region is extensively daily in the news. Although the launch seems a bit late, but it’s better late than never. The region is now swarming with different news “homemade” Arabic channels, but each is with a political agenda. Although they appear to be neutral or reflecting both sides, they remain tied to the political directions of the countries that sponsor them. Al Jazeera is known for broadcasting programmes like “Opposite Directions” in which debates get hot to the point of uncivilised shouting and interruption, but it never dared broadcast a programme about Qatar showing the problems facing the country. Al Arabiya can never broadcast programmes showing the social or political problems in Saudi Arabia. Such channels are free to broadcast programmes critical of other countries, except the countries that sponsor them.

    The BBC will be an occasion for those seeking facts without being bombarded with set political views that reflect only the official lines to watch the news and to make their mind about it. Those who visit BBC Arabic website, listen to Arabic service will quickly fit in BBC Arabic television service. Those used to biased news will find the BBC biased because it isn’t leaning to the side they are used to adhering to.

    BBC will surely represent a serious rival to the established Arabic news channels if it starts to broadcast 24/7 and if the audience learns that the new approach to the news isn’t to be dictated how to view events, but to have views on them. BBC English service has succeeded in making its users, website visitors, viewers and listeners become interactive. The BBC leaves them to comment and as it has no political agenda amounting to propaganda, contrary to the other Arabic channels who invite “experts” to tell the viewers what is right and wrong.

  37. 37 Jeanna Romer
    December 19, 2007 at 19:18

    Freedom of expression in the media is not an individual problem that should be blamed on journalists, but rather a social problem that exists due to the power corporations have within our government. As long has corporations are funding political campaigns, they are going to have influence on what is considered “democratic freedoms”. Also, American media is in the hands of a very few people and corporations (Rupert Murdoch to name one), so it is difficult to get unbiased and fair news coverage over meaningful issues.

    Jeanna Romer
    La Grande, OR

  38. 38 Nate Gulley
    December 19, 2007 at 19:19

    I think it is ironic that here in the States, private, which is to say mainstream, media is the LEAST independent source of news. At the same time, public radio and television are the only resources for Americans to access actual news reporting without an internet connection.

    Interestingly, the number of Americans without internet access is one of those subjects that continuously goes unreported by mainstream media.

    Nate

    Nate Gulley
    Co-op Family Center | Teacher’s Aide
    Oregon, Portland, USA

  39. 39 Henry Schurmann
    December 19, 2007 at 19:20

    Hi, I’m a 3rd generation listener – my grandpa listened secretly in Nazi Germany, forbidding my mother to tell anyone. Curious about this, I started listening as a teenager and have never stopped, seeing how a slight western bias has given way to more global voices today.

    I think that mainstream media cannot help letting people down when their independence of funding and governance is not guaranteed. So, government cost-saving and control effectively forces mainstream media into (commercial and political) dependency, while driving listeners to potential demagogues.

    I hope BBC WS will continue operating another 75 years.
    Henry Schurmann, Aix la Chappelle, Germany

  40. 40 Tom D Ford
    December 19, 2007 at 19:22

    Iraq was a democracy under Saddam Hussein and there certainly was no freedom of speech let alone a free media!

    Tom D Ford

    Bend, OR , USA

  41. 41 Michael Calwell
    December 19, 2007 at 19:45

    The BBC director on at the moment has it completely wrong. “Causing offence” is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Nobody has the right not to be offended. Lots of things people say offend me, should they be banned? If we ban anything that “causes offence”, anyone can claim to be offended, and then they can control what is said.

  42. 42 James Flear
    December 19, 2007 at 20:23

    Would the BBC allow a member of Al Qaeda to advocate the killing of US troops in Iraq on one of their talk shows? If not why was Mancow allowed to call for the killing of all “Islamo-fascists” on World Have Your Say?

  43. 43 Syed Hasan Turab
    December 19, 2007 at 21:38

    Still Radio got more listners compairing to TV.

  44. December 20, 2007 at 05:05

    Sir:
    i am a retired military flight engineer. i was stationed at RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge, in the 1970’s and RAF Alconbury when we established the new 17RW or reconn, wing there with the U-2/TR-1 aircraft.
    the have your say show, and all the programming is absolutestanding, you do not sugar coat or leave out pertenentt facts that might make the current us government look bad
    I can always depend on the BBC for the real news and the the sanatized rubbish we get on broadcast news in USA.
    I am a devoted listener on the XM satellite service. roughly 12-14hours per day while on the motorways here in southern california running my 40 ton lorry.
    please extend my thanks and a fine well done to each of the presenters on have your say and all the news programs.
    also the radio stories and articles are always first rate.
    please pardon my very horrid typing as i am sending this while rolling on the Fwy 5 here in southern california.
    thank you Sir foir a fine service and congratsulations on the years on broadcasting
    i also listened to the BEEB while in Vietnam in the early 1970’s. aghain the truth was heard not the falsehoods broadcast by the Armed Froces radio Network of the time or AFRTS.
    again ny thanks and please keep it going another 75 years
    Randall L. MIller
    Master sargent
    US Air Force/ret.
    Laguna Beach, California
    ps my old postcode at RAF Upwood was PE17 1PZ, the dismused base they made housing for the reconn. plane workers required.
    again thank you OUTSTANDING

  45. 45 M A from Cairo, Egypt
    December 22, 2007 at 05:07

    Dear BBC,

    Why did you remove what I wrote & was posted in Have Your Say yesterday Morning?

    Is there an explanation here????

  46. July 19, 2008 at 21:04

    Dear Mr. Chapman,

    It would be wonderful to see photos of your “on air” staff…as I appreciate their personalities and must put a face to each of the fantastic voices I hear!! Thank you in advance

    Fred Wills,
    Dayton, Texas USA


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