Letter: Free World Service

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Citizens of other countries value the BBC World Service more than we do (" `Foolish' BBC accused of destroying World Service", 19 January).

The Communist coup in Portugal some years ago was preceded by an attempted coup, with firing at night. In the morning, I asked a colleague in Lisbon for the news. He replied: "The local news service had government propaganda, so I tuned into the BBC World Service, for their local correspondent." That colleague was Dutch and his views were echoed by all the Portuguese I met that day.

We should be spending more, not less. This priceless asset should be released from financial dependency on the Foreign Office, which has its own agenda.

W R HAINES

Copthorne, Cheshire

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