The BBC World Service, a public corporation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), is the world’s leading international radio broadcaster, providing impartial news reports and analysis in English and over 40 other languages. Ministers and I strongly value its independent and impartial broadcasting, which helps to promote UK values overseas.
I agree that the BBC World Service must ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in news or other content dealing with public policy or matters of political controversy, and I note the specific criticisms raised about its output. The World Service, however, is editorially independent of Government. Thus, complaints should in the first instance be directed to the BBC (see: www.bbc.co.uk/complaints).
The FCDO does help to fund the World Service (in 2021/22, this includes a £3 million uplift to tackle harmful disinformation and challenge inaccurate reporting around the world), but it is completely up to the BBC as to how such funding is spent.
As a public corporation of the FCDO, the Foreign Secretary does meet no less than annually with the BBC Board to review and agree the overall objectives, priorities, and targets of the World Service. As such, I will ensure that the Foreign Secretary is aware of the points you have raised for the benefit of future discussions.