Prince pays tribute to BBC World Service

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THE PRINCE of Wales paid tribute last night to the BBC World Service, and called for it to be invested with 'new resources, new strength and new respect'.

Speaking at a reception marking the diamond jubilee of BBC overseas broadcasting a few hours after the announcement of his separation from the Princess of Wales, the Prince said: 'Whether we deserve it or not - and often whether we have funded it adequately or not - the World Service has come up with a broadcasting formula that is the envy and admiration of the world.

'The proof of the pudding is in the fact that 120 million listeners consume it.'

He referred to the 'crucial' question posed by the Government's new Green Paper on the BBC - whether the corporation should continue to expand its services for international audiences.

'The answer should surely be yes. The troubles of the world show no sign of abating. Civil war, whether in Eastern Europe or Africa, is rampant; repressive systems deny human rights to their citizens; hunger and disease and appalling corruption are rife. The conflicts around the world breed confusion, tension and rumour.'

Addressing an audience at London's Guildhall which included MPs and more than 50 ambassadors, the Prince said: 'It is essential that those who strive for solutions should be able to establish the true facts, and to know that there is a point of reference to which everyone can turn. The World Service is just such a credible source of information.'