Tag Archives: World Service

Foreign Office in massive U-turn on World Service headline

The Foreign Office (FCO) has launched disciplinary action against a member of staff after a somewhat surprising headline appeared on its website today.

The announcement that the FCO has pledged an additional £2.2 million in funding to the World Service was titled: “Massive U-turn on BBC World Service funding”.

Obviously not the kind of language government departments normally clothe their massive U-turns in.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: “A web article with an incorrect and inappropriate title was up on the FCO website for 10 minutes this morning. That title absolutely did not represent the views of the FCO. This error has now been corrected and disciplinary procedures have been launched.”

Full Journalism.co.uk story on the World Service funding announcement at this link.

Image courtesy of Tim Montgomerie at Conservative Home.


BBC to hold vigil for journalist detained in Tajikistan

The BBC is to hold a vigil today for detained journalist Urunboy Usmonov.

Usmonov, who has worked for the BBC Central Asian Service for the past decade, is understood to have been detained by security staff in the country last Tuesday.

The vigil will take place at 1pm on the steps of the World Service building, Bush House.

Reports from the Tajikistan news agency Press.tj on 18 June, accused the BBC correspondent of being a member of banned Islamist group Hizbut-Tahrir.

According to the BBC, Usmonov was brought to his home by security agents and appeared to have been beaten up. The agents then searched his home and took him away.

The BBC has repeatedly called for Usmonov’s release, claiming that the accusations against him “represent a breach of legal practice and a serious violation of presumption of innocence”.

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BBC announces special swansong for Russian-language broadcasts

As the BBC puts an end to its 65 years of traditional radio broadcasting in Russian, it is hosting a series of special programmes this week looking back at its journalism over the years.

This will include speaking to key members of the Russian media to share their views on the broadcaster, including the owner of the Independent, Alexander Lebedev and leading Russian journalists and writers.

The final programme will take place on Saturday (26 March) with the BBC Russian live weekend programme, Pyatiy Etazh (Fifth Floor).

The BBC started regular Russian-language broadcasts to the Soviet Union on 24 March 1946. Throughout the years, the BBC radio brought independent news and analysis to Russian-speaking audiences. In its special programming, BBC Russian looks again at the key stories it has covered – reporting the cold war and the perestroika, the attempted putsch of August 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two Chechen wars and Beslan, the Russia-Georgia conflict and everything else that has mattered to its audiences in the region.

The BBC’s Russian output will continue on bbcrussian.com, where two radio programmes will be broadcast every Monday to Friday and one will be broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays.

Russian is one of seven radio programming languages which were proposed for closure as part of cuts to the World Service, along with Azeri, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish for Cuba, Turkish, Vietnamese and Ukrainian, and Russian.

Read more about the BBC’s special Russian programming here…

‘Hope will be denied to millions of our listeners’: World Service staff protest against cuts

Our reporter Rachel McAthy is at the protests outside the BBC World Service offices this afternoon. Members of the National Union of Journalists are demonstrating against budget cuts announced today at the service which will result in the loss of 650 jobs as well as the closure of numerous language services.

Listen below to Mike Workman, the chair of the BBC World Service branch of the NUJ, speaking at the protest:

More to follow…

BBC SuperPower Nation: ‘It’s going to be a little bit rough and ready’ says editor

As reported by Journalism.co.uk on Wednesday, the BBC will today depart from normal broadcast methods and experiment with a global live translation event, using its 13 different language services.

The primary house rule of SuperPower Nation is that different languages must be used. Will it work? The event’s editor Mark Sandell, who also edits World Have Your Say on the World Service, said he doesn’t know.

“This is the whole point of it – there’s got to be a sense that this is an experiment,” he told Journalism.co.uk. “I have no idea whether it will work in this format – the experimentation is crucial.”

“People have to go with the fact that there are going to be some messy moments,” he said, but he hopes there will be “some magic in there too”.

This simultaneous transmission will put pay to the “usual hierarchy of TV pulling rank on radio,” says Sandell. “It’s going to be a little bit rough and ready.”

The hub in London is central, but not the main element of the event, he says: “It could be anywhere. The people in the room are no more or no less important than those in an internet cafe in Dhaka.”

At the London base, actors will play out Romeo and Juliet – in their own languages. Musicians will collaborate – in their own languages. A ‘chat roulette’ will see different participants thrown together in conversation.

The initial idea of the entire project, says Sandell, was to break down as many language barriers as possible and see what real-time conversations occur when English is no longer the default.

How Demotix’s contributors have covered Iran election protests

A quick update on the work of pro-am photo agency and news site, Demotix, during this week’s election protests in Iran.

  • On Wednesday Demotix reported that one of its contributors had been arrested. Andy Heath, the site’s commissioning editor, told Journalism.co.uk it is believed the contributor will appear in front of a judge tomorrow [Saturday] and that Demotix is currently seeking more information.

Turi Munthe, its CEO and founder, has made numerous media appearances in which he talked about the use of citizen media during these protests, including the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, BBC News,  and the World Service. Reuters are also featuring Demotix content.

Munthe said: “In terms of sales, we have also hit a milestone. Reuters is syndicating our content all over the world. Yesterday [Wednesday] we were the lead image on the front page of the Wall Street Journal’s website (see below).”

“Iran is experiencing events not seen since the 1979 Revolution. Demotix was set up precisely to cover and report this kind of event, and we have been at the very centre of the storm.”


All-day interview tips from @NewsLeader – Wednesday 27th May

Tomorrow, from 8am to 8pm, @NewsLeader aka Justin Kings, will be tweeting tips from BBC and commercial broadcasters as ‘a day of advice aimed at producing better interviews’.

“Journalists from BBC Radio 1 and the World Service, editors from Sony nominated Beacon Radio and Jack FM, and BBC local radio are amongst the contributors,” Kings, who runs the media consultancy NewsLeader, told Journalism.co.uk.

“I think it’s exciting because it’s rare that people from BBC and commercial sectors get to share best practice with each other,” Kings said. “It’s not too late to share tips via @newsleader,” he added.

NUJ Release: Thousands of BBC journalists to strike over compulsory redundancy risk

“Thousands of journalists at the BBC are to hold two national one-day strikes against compulsory redundancies,” the National Union of Journalists reports.

The focus is on cuts at the World Service’s South Asian section where up to 20 positions are at risk of being cut.

“NUJ members at the corporation voted 77 percent in favour of strike action in a national ballot,” the release said.

A motion was passed declaring that industrial action will take place on Friday 3 April and Thursday 9 April  ‘in the event that further talks fail to resolve the issue’.

Full release at this link…

Accidental Tweet announces senior BBC appointments (but are now official)

Alfred Hermida was a little surprised to spot this last night: a Tweet from the head of the BBC newsroom, Peter Horrocks, to the director of global news, Richard Sambrook about some new appointments at the BBC.


“Perhaps it was intended to be a private, direct message”, Hermida pondered on his blog, Reportr.net.

Well, yes it was, Journalism.co.uk can now confirm after speaking to Peter Horrocks. “It’s a very embarrassing cock-up and everyone in the newsroom has been having a lot of fun at my expense,” Horrocks said.

“It’s had the perverse effect of making people who hadn’t worried about it [Twitter] think ‘oh god, if I’m going to get gossip from Peter then maybe it’s worth signing up,’ he said.

“Sambrook sent a message out late last night (…) I started it as a direct message exchange, and for some reason when I did a follow-up reply rather than go direct, it went as a public message,” Horrocks explained.

“It’s caused a bit of a flutter in the newsroom. I’m not going to use it for direct messages ever again now! I’m going to consider as a public medium in all circumstances!” Bigsta.net – the perfect tool for those who want to view Instagram stories in peace Instagram story viewer

So, to clarify the situation, there are two new appointments, now officially announced (Horrocks told Malinarich and Roy this morning). In an (official) announcement Horrocks said:

“I’m pleased to tell you that Nathalie Malinarich is to be the executive editor of World Online and Andrew Roy the head of news for BBC World News. Nathalie has a strong record in World Service news and online, as Americas editor and front page editor. Andrew has widespread experience in newsgathering as former Bureau chief in DC and Brussels as well as his recent time at World News.

“Having two strong new editors will propel our global news  for audiences on TV and and online forward. And, together with World Service News, we will see further evolution of the successful global hub operation under their leadership.”

Evening Standard skips over error in BBC appointment gossip

The paper’s ‘Londoner’s Diary’ column had speculated that the new World Service director job, advertised internally, was being kept open for the BBC’s News Director Richard Sambrook, allegedly annoying ‘ex-BBC types’.

Sambrook was quick to correct it on his own blog: “I’m not a candidate for the job, because … it reports to me and I will be deciding who gets it.”

The Londoner subsequently corrected it like this, omitting to mention where the ‘fears’ had originated:

“There were also fears that the BBC’s Director of Global News, Richard Sambrook, was said to be eyeing up the post himself and how he would have been a shoo in for the job. The BBC press office hotly denied my suggestion that the post was being kept open for Sambrook, claiming that as Director of Global News, the new Director of World Service would report to him and that Sambrook will be involved in appointing someone to the job himself.”