Letter: BBC World asset

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The Independent Culture
Sir: BBC World Television, apparently threatened by budget cuts because it is not commercially successful (letter, 24 June), has become one of Britain's greatest assets abroad.

I was in Croatia earlier this month, where BBC World was watched avidly by most people I spoke to, and was much preferred to CNN, which is regarded as superficial, and reflecting a narrow American viewpoint on the Kosovo crisis.

International TV news channels do not make money. CNN International is financially supported by CNN in the USA. Deutsche Welle TV is directly subsidised by the German government. Rupert Murdoch seems to be happy to carry Sky News as a loss-maker because it enhances the BSkyB portfolio.

The British Foreign Office should increase by a small percentage the grant-in-aid it pays to BBC World Service Radio, to support BBC World TV.

In a multi-media environment, where TV dominates and Online News is growing fast, it defies logic to support public service radio alone.

The BBC's magnificent news coverage is worth a great deal more to Britain's reputation worldwide than a thousand embassy cocktail parties.

RICK THOMPSON

Director

T-Media Consultancy,

Solihull

The writer is also Visiting Professor in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Central England, Birmingham

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