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World Service important to support for democracy

May 19, 2011 5:44 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Commenting on the debate on the BBC World Service in the House of Commons today, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary International Affairs Committee, Martin Horwood said:

"The motion passed today by Parliament offers the Government a welcome opportunity to rethink the funding of the BBC World Service.

"Recent events in the Middle East and other countries have shown the importance of independent, unbiased news reporting for the promotion of democracy and good government. Andrew Mitchell's announcement of new support for the BBC World Service Trust to deliver our international development goals shows that ministers are now thinking creatively about how to protect this vital service.

"Liberal Democrats are concerned at the risk to economically and politically important services like Arabic, Hindi and Mandarin and we were happy to support today's motion in Parliament.

"The eventual transfer of funding to the BBC after 2014 should reinforce the World Service's independence, providing sufficient safeguards for the future are put in place. But ministers need to look carefully to see if there are any other ways to minimise cuts to vital services in the meantime."