The Government confirms the BBC World Service has been awarded a one-off payment of £20 million to keep the service on air in its current format.
The money is designed to protect all 42 World Service language services over the next two years, support English language broadcasting, and counter disinformation.
BBC chairman Richard Sharp previously argued the World Service was at risk from funding cuts. Reports earlier this year indicated that the BBC was finding it more difficult to justify funding the World Service at the expense of services targeting the UK.
Last year, the BBC announced a round of major cuts to the BBC World Service, with a number of services moving to online-only. Earlier this year, the BBC Arabic radio station was closed. But television services in Arabic and Persian were protected.
The extra funding is a result of a ‘refresh’ of the Government’s Integrated Review, which concluded “that democracies like the UK must go further to out-cooperate and out-compete states that are driving instability. Developments over the past year, particularly the conflict in Ukraine, have shown the importance of being able to counter the hostile use of disinformation and to tackle the spread of harmful state narratives.”
Commenting on the extra money for the BBC World Service, Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said:
The BBC World Service is vital in the fight against the spread of disinformation around the world. This funding will ensure people across the globe continue to have access to accurate, high quality journalism.
As the world’s most trusted international broadcaster, the BBC World Service is a vital tool in providing accurate and impartial news, analysis and discussion in 42 languages to 365 million people around the world each week. This one-off funding will allow the BBC World Service to maintain its unrivalled status as the world’s largest international broadcaster, and to continue playing its crucial role in tackling harmful disinformation through providing trusted, impartial news and analysis globally.