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BBC World Service

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 105307, tabled on 14 September 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress is being made in enabling access to BBC World Service in (a) North Korea, (b) Russia and (c) other countries where the service is not currently easily available, and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

13 October 2017

The BBC World Service is delivering 12 new language services and enhancements to existing services with an investment of £291m from Government over 4 years. The Foreign Secretary agreed the funding and the new language services proposed by the BBC. Good progress has been made in delivering these services including:

  1. New radio services in the Korean language (launched 25 September 2017).
  2. Enhanced services for Russian speakers (further expansion in October 2017).
  3. Other new high quality and impartial news programmes for global audiences, including in places where free speech is limited. This includes some of the most remote places in the world, providing a link to the UK for individuals and societies who would otherwise not have this opportunity.

I was in New Delhi on 3 October 2017 at the inauguration of the foreign language Indian service.

The new services are tangible proof of a truly Global Britain – making the most of the UK's soft power to help the world's poorest while also projecting the UK's values around the world. Further information on the implementation of the services is available from the BBC World Service.