It’s simply propaganda in 2014, not news. Courtesy of Josh Halliday @ The Guardian:
The BBC World Service is being financially outgunned by Russian and Chinese state-owned news channels, its former director Peter Horrocks has warned, amid high-level concerns that Britain and the US are losing a global “information war” with the Kremlin.
Horrocks said ministers should review Britain’s spending overseas and consider freeing up extra World Service funding to combat the wave of Moscow-backed propaganda sweeping Europe.
“Medium to long term there has to be an anxiety about the spending of others compared to what the BBC are putting into it,” Horrocks said. “You can take a view of the overall national interest and things we spend on international influence, like military spending. When you look at that it would take it in a certain direction.”
International alarm over the rise of Kremlin-funded news, led by 24-hour news channel Russia Today, has intensified following Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine and his feud with the west.
David Cameron told MPs he had raised with President Obama his concern about Russian news channels “pumping out a distorted picture” of events in Ukraine after the issue was raised by leaders in the Baltic states at the G20 summit in Australia.
Horrocks, who stepped down earlier this month as the executive in charge of the BBC’s global news operations, said the corporation had asked the Foreign Office (FCO) “whether there’s anything they want to do with development funding for extra programming for Ukraine” but he had not yet had a reply.
FCO funding for the World Service stopped in April, with the £245m annual budget now coming out of the licence fee. Despite this shift, Horrocks said “considering supplementary funding [from the FCO] is something that could be on the policy agenda and could be part of the discussion about the BBC’s future”.
He added: “We are being financially outgunned by Russia and the Chinese but there’s no way we’re being outgunned on the results [global audience]. The role we need to play is an even handed one. We shouldn’t be pro-one side or the other, we need to provide something people can trust.”
Demand for BBC World Service output has soared since the Ukraine-Russia crisis began. The corporation’s Russian-language service has more than doubled to 6.9 million listeners, while in Ukraine its audience has trebled to more than 600,000 since last year. Continue reading