every modern country, regardless of the form of the government, the press,
radio and television are political weapons of tremendous power, and few things
are so indicative of the nature of a government as the way in which that power
is exercised. While studying the politics of any country, it is important not
only to understand the nature of the social, economic, political or any other
divisions of the population but also to discover what organs of public and
political opinion are available for the expression of the various interests.
Although the press in this or that country is legally
free, the danger lies in the fact that the majority of people are not aware of
the ownership. The press in fact is controlled by a comparatively small number
of persons. Consequently, when the readers see different newspapers providing
the same news and expressing similar opinions they are not sure that the news,
and the evaluation of the news, are determined by a single group of people,
perhaps even by one person. In democratic countries it has long been assumed
that government ought, in general, to do what their people want them to do.
The growth of radio and particularly of television is as
important in providing news as the press. They provide powerful means of
capturing public attention. But while private enterprise predominates in the
publishing fields in Great
Britain, radio broadcasting monopoly, as was
television until late in 1955. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a
public organisation, still provides all radio programmes.
National Daily and Sunday
In a democratic country like Great Britain
the press, ideally, has three political functions: information, discussion and
representation. It is supposed to give the voter reliable and complete
information to base his judgement. It should let him know the arguments for and
against any policy, and it should reflect and give voice to the desires of the
people as a whole.
Naturally, there is no censorship in Great Britain,
but in 1953 the Press Council was set up. It is not an official body but it is
composed of the people nominated by journalists, and it receives complaints
against particular newspapers. It may make reports, which criticise papers, but
they have no direct effects. The British press means, primarily, a group of
daily and Sunday newspapers published in London.
They are most important and known as national in the sense of circulating
throughout the British Isles. All the national
newspapers have their central offices in London,
but those with big circulations also print editions in Manchester
(the second largest press center in Britain)
and Glasgow in Scotland.
Probably in no other country there are such great
differences between the various national daily newspapers – in the type of news
they report and the way they report it.
All the newspapers whether
daily or Sunday, totalling about twenty, can be divided into two groups: quality
papers and popular papers. Quality papers include "The Times’, "The Guardian”,
"The Daily Telegraph”, "The Financial Times”, "The Observer”, "The Sunday
Times” and "The Sunday Telegraph”. Very thoroughly they report national and
In addition to the daily and Sunday papers, there is an
enormous number of weeklies, some devoted to specialised and professional
subjects, others of more general interest. Three of them are of special
importance and enjoy a large and influential readership. They are: the
"Spectator” (which is non-party but with Conservative views), the "New
Statesman” (a radical journal, inclining towards the left wing of the Labour
Party) and the largest and most influential – the "Economist” (politically
independent). These periodicals resemble one another in subject matter and
layout. They contain articles on national and international affairs, current
events, the arts, letters to the Editor, extensive book reviews. Their
publications often exert a great influence on politics.
The distinction between the quality and the popular
papers is one primarily of educational level. Quality papers are those
newspapers which are intended for the well educate. All the rest are generally
called popular newspapers. The most important of them are the "News of the
World”, "The Sun”, the "Daily Mirror”, the "Daily Express”.
The two archetypal popular
papers, the "Daily Mail” and "Daily Express” were both built by individual
tycoons in the early 20th century. Both had a feeling for the taste
of a newly-literate public: if a man bites a dog, that’s a news. The "Daily
Express” was built up by a man born in Canada. He became a great man in
the land, a close friend and associate of Winston Churchill, and a powerful
minister in his War Cabinet. The circulation of "The Daily Express” at one time
exceeded four million copies a day. Now the first Lord Beaverbrook is dead, and
the daily sales are not much more than half of their highest figure. The
history of the "Daily Mail”, with its conventional conservatism, is not greatly
The popular newspapers tend to make news sensational.
These papers concentrate on more emotive reporting of stories often featuring
the Royal Family, film and pop stars, and sport.They publish "personal”
articles which shock and excite. Instead of printing factual news reports,
these papers write them up in an exciting way, easy to read, playing on
people’s emotions. They avoid serious political and social questions or treat
them superficially. Trivial events are treated as the most interesting and
important happenings. Crime is always given far more space than creative,
productive or cultural achievements. Much of their information concerns the
private lives of people who are in the news. The popular newspapers are very
similar to one another in appearance and general arrangement, with big
headlines and the main news on the front page. This press is much more popular
than the quality press.
In some countries, newspapers
are owned by government or by political parties. This is not the case in Britain.
Newspapers here are mostly owned by individuals or by publishing companies, and
the editors of the papers are usually allowed considerate freedom of
expression. This is not to say that newspapers are without political bias.
Papers like The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, for example, usually reflect
Conservative opinions in their comment and reporting, while the Daily Mirror
and The Guardian have a more left-wing bias. In addition to the 12 national
daily newspapers there are nine national papers which published on Sundays. The
"quality” Sunday papers devote large sections to literature and the arts. They
have colour supplements and are in many ways more like magazines than
newspapers. They supply quite different world of taste and interest from the
"popular” papers. Most of the "Sundays” contain more reading matter than daily
papers, and several of them also include "colour-supplements” – separate colour
magazines which contain photographically-illustrated feature articles. Reading
a Sunday paper, like having a big Sunday lunch, is an important tradition in
many British households.
Local and Regional Papers
nearly every area in Britain
has one or more local newspapers.
morning papers have suffered from the universal penetration of London-based
national press. Less than 20 survive in the whole England, and their combined
circulation is much less than that of "The Sun” alone. Among local daily papers
those published in the evenings are much more important. Each of about 70 towns
has one, selling only within a radius of 50 to 100 kilometers. The
evening papers, the "News” and " Standard”, together sold two million copies in
1980, but they could not survive, and merged into one, now called "The London
Evening Standard” with a circulation of 528,700. It covers national and
international news as well as local affairs. Local weeklies include papers for
every district in Greater London, often in the form of local editions of an
Wales has one daily morning newspaper,
the "Western Mail”, published in Gardiff, with a circulation of 76,200
In north Wales "the Daily
Post”, published in Liverpool, gives wide
coverage to events in the area. "Wales
on Sunday”, published in Cardiff,
has a circulation of 53,100. Evening papers published in Wales are the "South Wales Echo”, Cardiff; the "South Wales Argus”, Newport;
"The South Wales Evening Post”, Swansea;
weekly press (82 publications) includes English-language papers, some of which
carry articles in Welsh; bilingual papers; and Welsh-language papers. Welsh
community newspapers receive an annual grant as part of the Government’s wider
financial support for the Welsh language.
Scotland has six morning, six evening and
four Sunday newspapers. Local weekly newspapers number 115. The daily morning
papers, with circulations of between 85,900 and 740,000, are "The Scotsman”;
the "Herald”; the "Daily Record”. The daily evening papers have circulations in
the range of 10,400 to 164,330 and are the ”Evening News” of Edinburgh,
Glasgow’s Evening Times, Dundee’s "Evening Telegraph”, Aberdeen’s "Evening
Express”, the "Greenock Telegraph”
Sunday papers are the "Sunday Mail”, the "Sunday Post” , the "Scottish Sunday
Express (printed in Manchester)
as well as quality broadsheet paper.
Ireland has two morning newspapers, one evening and three Sunday papers, all
published in Belfast with circulations ranging from 20,000 to 170, 567. They
are the "News Letter”, the "Sunday News”, the "Sunday World”. There are bout 45
Most local daily papers belong to one or other
of the bog press empires, which leave their local editors to decide editorial
policy. Mostly they try to avoid any appearance of regular partisanship, giving
equal weight to each major political party. They give heavy weight to local
news and defend local interests and local industries.
The total circulation of all
provincial daily newspapers, morning and evening together, is around eight
million: about half as great as that of the national papers. In spite of this,
some provincial papers are quite prosperous. They do not need their own foreign
correspondents; they receive massive local advertising, particularly about things
The truly local papers are weekly.
They are not taken very seriously, being mostly bought for the useful
information contained in their advertisements. But for a foreign visitor
wishing to learn something of the flavour of a local community, the weekly
local paper can be useful. Some of these papers are now given away, not sold
out but supported by the advertising.
The four most famous provincial newspapers
are "The Scotsman” (Edinburg), the "Glasgow herald”, the "Yorkshire Post” (Leeds)
and the "Belfast Telegraph”, which present national as well as local news.
Apart from these there are many other daily, evening and weekly papers
published in cities and smaller towns. The present local news and are supported
by local advertisements.
Weekly, Periodical and Daily Press
English writing is often to be found in the weekly political and literary
journals, all based in London,
all with nationwide circulations in the tens of thousands. "The Economist”,
founded in 1841, probably has no equal everywhere. It has a coloured cover and
a few photographs inside, so that it look like "Time” or "Newsweek”, but its
reports have more depth and breadth than any these. It covers world affair, and
even its American section is more informative about America than its American
equivalents. Although by no means "popular”, it is vigorous in its comments,
and deserves the respect in which it is generally held. "Spectator” is a weekly
journal of opinion. It regularly contains well-written articles, often politically
slanted. It devotes nearly half its space to literature and the arts.
Glossy weekly or monthly illustrated
magazines cater either for women or for any of a thousand special interests.
Almost all are based in London,
with national circulations, and the women’s magazines sell millions of copies.
These, along with commercial television, are the great educators of demand for
the new and better goods offered by the modern consumer society. In any big
newsagent’s shop the long rows of brightly covered magazines seem to go on for
ever; beyond the large variety of appeals to women and teenage girls come those
concerned with yachting, tennis, model railways, gardening and cars. For every
activity there is a magazine, supported mainly by its advertisers, and from
time to time the police brings a pile of pornographic magazines to local
magistrates, who have the difficult task of deciding whether they are
sufficiently offensive to be banned.
These specialist magazines are not
cheap. They live on an infinite variety of taste, curiosity and interest. Their
production, week by week and month by month, represents a fabulous amount of
effort and of felled trees. Television has not killed the desire to read.
The best-known among the British national weekly
newspapers are as follows.
"The Times” (1785) is called
the paper of the Establishment. "The Times” has three weekly supplements, all
appeared and sold separately. The Literary Supplement” is devoted almost
entirely to book reviews, and covers all kinds of new literature. It makes good
use of academic contributors, and has at last, unlike "The Economist”,
abandoned its old tradition of anonymous reviews. "New Scientist” published by
the company which owns the "Daily Mirror”, has good and serious articles about
scientific research, often written by academics yet useful for the general
reader. This paper is most famous of all British newspapers. Politically it is
independent, but is generally inclined to be sympathetic to the Conservative
Party. It is not a government organ, though very often its leading articles may
be written after private consultation with people in the Government. It has a
reputation for extreme caution, though it has always been a symbol of solidity
Its reporting is noted for reliability and completeness and especially in
foreign affairs. Its reputation for reflecting or even anticipating government
policy gives it an almost official tone.
newspapers are now commonly called "tabloids”. This word first used for
pharmaceutical substances compressed into pills. The tabloid newspapers
compress the news, and are printed on small sheets of paper. They use enormous
headlines for the leading items of each day, which are one day political, one
day are to do with a crime, one day sport, one day some odd happening. They
have their pages of political report and comment, short, often over-simplified
but vigorously written and (nowadays) generally responsible. They thrive on
sensational stories and excitement.
"The Guardian” (until 1959-"The Manchester Guardian”) has become a truly national paper
rather than one specially connected with Manchester.
In quality, style and reporting it is nearly equal with "The Times”. In
politics it is described as "radical”. It was favourable to the Liberal Party
and tends to be rather closer in sympathy to the Labour party than to the
Conservatives. It has made great progress during the past years, particularly
among the intelligent people who find "the Times” too uncritical of the
‘The Daily Telegraph” (1855) is the quality paper with
the largest circulation (1.2 million compared with "The Times’s 442 thousand
and "The Guardian’s” 500 thousand). In theory it is independent, but in
practice it is such caters for the educated and semi-educated business and
professional classes. Being well produced and edited it is full of various
information and belongs to the same class of journalism as "The Times” and "The
In popular journalism the "The Daily Mirror” became a
serious rival of the "Express” and "Mail” in the 1940s. It was always tabloid,
and always devoted more space to picture than to text. It was also a pioneer
with strip cartoons. After the Second World War it regularly supported the
Labour Party. It soon outdid the "Daily Express” in size of headlines, short
sentences and exploration of excitement. It also became the biggest-selling
daily newspaper. For many years its sales were about four million; sometimes
The daily papers have no Sunday editions, but there are
Sunday papers, nearly all of which are national: " The Sunday Times” (1822, 1.2
million), "The Sunday Telegraph” (1961, 0.7 million), the "Sunday Express”
(1918, 2.2 million),"The Sunday Mirror”
(1963, 2.7 million).
On weekdays there are evening papers, all of which serve
their own regions only, and give the latest news. London has two evening newspapers, "The
London Standard” and "The Evening News”.
Traditionally the leading humorous
periodical in Britain
is "Punch”, best known for its cartoons and articles, which deserve to be
regarded as typical examples of English humour. It has in recent years devoted
increasing attention to public affairs, often by means of its famous cartoons.
This old British satirical weekly magazine, survives, more abrasive than in an
earlier generation yet finding it hard to keep the place it once had in a more
secure social system. Its attraction, particularly for one intellectual youth,
has been surpassed by a new rival, "Private Eye”, founded in 1962 by people
who, not long before, had run a pupil’s magazine in Shrewsbury School.
Its scandalous material is admirably written on atrocious paper and its
circulation rivals that of "The Economist”.
in all non-broadcast media such as newspapers, magazines, posters (and also
direct mail, sales promotions, cinema, and management of lists and databases)
is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, an independent body funded
by a levy on display advertising expenditure. The Authority aims to promote and
enforce the highest standards of advertising in the interests of the public
through its supervision of the British Code of Advertising Practise. The basic
principles of the Code are to ensure that advertisements:
legal, decent, honest and truthful;
prepared with a sense of responsibility to the consumer and society; and
to the principles of fair competition as generally accepted in business.
Authority includes among its activities monitoring advertisements to ensure
their compliance with the Code and investigating complaints received directly
from members of the public and competitors.
advertising industry has agreed to abide by the Code and to back it up with
effective sanctions. Free and confidential pre-publication advice is offered to
assist publishers, agencies and advertisers. The Authority’s main sanction is
the recommendation that advertisements considered to be in breach of the Code
should not be published. This is normally sufficient to ensure that an
advertisement is withdrawn or amended. The Authority also publishes monthly
reports on the results of its investigations, naming the companies involved.
Authority is recognised by the Office of Fair Trading as being the established
means of controlling non-broadcast advertising. The Authority can refer
misleading advertisements to the Director General of Fair Trading, who has the
power to seek an injunction to prevent their publication.
principal news agencies in Britain
are Reuters, an international news organisation registered in London, the Press Association and Extel
The oldest is "Reuters” which
was founded in 1851. The agency employs some 540 journalists and correspondents
in seventy countries and has links with about 120 national or private news
agencies. The information of general news, sports, and economic reports is
received in London
every day and is transmitted over a network links and cable and radio circuits.
is a publicly owned company, employing 10,335 full-time staff in 79 countries.
It has 1,300 staff journalists and photographers. The company served
subscribers in 132 countries, including financial institutions; commodities
houses; traders in currencies, equities and bonds; major corporations;
government agencies; news agencies; newspapers; and radio and television
has developed the world’s most extensive private leased communications network
to transmit its services. It provides the media with general, political,
economic, financial and sports news, news pictures and graphics, and television
news. Services for business clients comprise constantly updated price
information and news, historical information, facilities for computerised
trading, and the supply of communications and other equipment for the financial
dealing rooms. Information is distributed through video terminals and
tele-printers. Reuters is the major shareholder in Visnews, a television news
agency whose service reaches over 650 broadcasters in 84 countries.
The Press Association
Press Association- the British and
Irish national news agency – is co-operatively owned by the principal daily
newspapers of Britain
outside London, and the Irish Republic.
It offers national and regional newspapers and broadcasters a comprehensive
range of home news – general and parliamentary news, legal reports, and all
types of financial, commercial and sports news. It also includes in its
services to regional papers the world news from Reuters and Associated Press.
News is sent by satellite from London by the Press
Association, certain items being available in Dataformat as camera –ready copy.
Its "Newsfile” operation provides general news, sports and foreign news on
screen to non-media as well as media clients by means of telephone and view data
terminals. The photographic department offers newspapers and broadcasters a
daily service of pictures. The News Features service supplies repoerts of local
or special interest and grants exclusive rights to syndicated features. It also
offers a dial-in graphics facility, as well as extensive cuttings and
Extel Financial supplies information and
services to financial and business communities throughout the world. Based in London, it has a network of offices in Europe and the United States and direct representation in Japan and South-East Asia.
Data is collected from all the world’s major stock exchanges, companies and the
international press. The agency is a major source of reference material on
companies and securities. It supplies a full range of data products on
international financial matters. Up-to-the-minutes business and company news is
bade available by the agency’s specialist financial news operations.
British press and broadcasting organisations are also catered for by Associated
Press and United Press International, which are British subsidiaries of United States
news agencies. A number of other British, Commonwealth and foreign agencies and
news services have offices in London,
and there are minor agencies in other city. Syndication of features is not as
common in Britain
as in some countries, but a few agencies specialise in this type of work.
New Printing Technology
The heavy production costs of newspapers and
periodicals continue to encourage publishers to look for ways of reducing these
costs, often by using advanced computer system to control editing and
production processes. The "Front end” or "single stroking” system, for example,
allows journalists or advertising staff to input "copy” directly into video
terminal, and then to transform it automatically into computer-set columns of
type. Although it is possible for these columns to be assembled electronically
on a page-sized screen, turned into a full page, and made automatically into a
plate ready for transfer to the printing press, at present very few such
systems are in operation. Most involve the production of bromides from the
computer setting; there are then pasted up into columns before being places in
a plate –making machine.
The most advanced system presents
opportunities for reorganisation, which have implications throughout a
newspaper office and may give rise to industrial relations problems. Generally,
and most recently in the case of national newspapers, the introduction of
computerised system has led to substantial reduction in workforces,
particularly, but not solely, among print workers.
All the national newspapers use
computer technology, and its use in the provincial press, which has generally
led the way in adopting news techniques, is widespread. Journalists key
articles directly into, and edit them on, computer terminals; colour pictures
and graphics are entered into the same system electronically. Where printing
plants are at some distance from editorial offices, pages are sent for printing
by fax machine from typesetter to print plant. Other technological development
include the use of full-colour printing, and a switch from traditional
letterpress printing to the web-offset plastic-plate processes.
News International, publisher of the
three daily and two Sunday papers, has at its London Docklands headquarters
more than 500 computer terminals - one of the largest system installed at one
time anywhere in the world. The "Financial Times” opened a new printing plants
in Dockland in 1988 with about 200 production workers, compared with the 650
employed at its former printing facility in the City of London. The new Docklands plant of the
Associated Newspapers Group uses flexography, a rudder-plate process. Other national
papers have also moved into the new computer-based printing plants outside
Radio and Television
British broadcasting has
traditionally been based on the principle that it is a public service
accountable to the people through Parliament. Following 1990 legislation, it is
also embracing the principles of competition and choice. Three public bodies
are responsible for television and radio services throughout
Britain. They are:
1.the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcasts
television and radio services;
Television Commission (ITC) licenses and regulates non-BBC television services,
including cable and satellite services, and;
Authority licenses and regulates all non-BBC radio services.
Since the 1970s 98% of British households have had
television sets able to receive four channels, two put out by the BBC, two by
commercial companies. Commercial satellite and cable TV began to grow
significantly in 1989 – 1990, and by 1991 the two main companies operating in Britain had
joined together as British Sky Broadcasting. By 1991 about one household in ten
had the equipment to receive this material.
Every household with TV must by law pay for a license,
which costs about the same for a year as a popular newspaper every day.
Unlike the press, mass broadcasting has been subject to
some state control from its early days. One agreed purpose has been to ensure
that news, comment and discussion should be balanced and impartial, free of
influence by government or advertisers. From 1926 first radio, then TV as well,
were entrusted to the BBC, which still has a board of governors appointed by
the government. The BBC’s monopoly was ended in 1954, when an independent board
was appointed by the Home Secretary to give licenses to broadcast
("franchises”) to commercial TV companies financed by advertising, and called
in general independent television (ITV). These franchises have been given only
for a few years at a time, then renewed subject to various conditions.
In 1990 Parliament passed a long and complex new
Broadcasting Act which made big changes in the arrangements for commercial TV
and radio. The old Independent Broadcasting Authority, which had given
franchises to the existing TV and radio companies, was abolished. In its place,
for TV alone, a new Independent Television Commission was set up in 1991, with
the task of awarding future franchises, early in the 1990s, either to the
existing companies or to new rivals which were prepared to pay a higher price.
The Commission also took over responsibility for licensing cable programme
services, including those satellite TV channels which are carried on cable
networks. The new law did not change the status of the BBC, but it did have the
purpose of increasing competition, both among broadcasters and among producers.
It envisaged that a new commercial TV channel, TV5, would start in the early
The general nature
of the four TV channels functioning in 1991, seems likely to continue, with
BBC1 and ITV producing a broadly similar mixture of programmes in competition
with each other. ITV has a complex structure. Its main news is run by one
company, Independent Television News, its early morning TV – a.m. by another.
There are about a dozen regional companies which broadcast in their regions for
most each day, with up to ten minutes of advertisements in each hour, between
programmes or as interruptions at intervals of twenty or thirty minutes. These
regional companies produce some programmes of local interest and some which they
sell to other regions, so that for much of each day the same material is put
out all through the country. Some of BBC1’s progarmmes are similarly produced
by its regional stations. BBC2 and the independent Channel 4 (which has its own
company) are both used partly for special interest programmes and for such
things as complete operas.
board of 12 governors, including the chairman, vice-chairman and national
governors for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is appointed by
the Queen on the advice of the Government. The board of governors is
responsible for all aspects of broadcasting on the BBC. The governors appoint
the Director-General, the Corporation’s chief executive officer, who heads the
board of management, the body in charge of the daily running of the services.
The BBC has a strong regional structure. The three
English regions – BBC North, BBC Midlands & East and BBC South – and the
Scottish, Welsh and Northern
Ireland national regions make programmes for
their local audiences as well as contributing to the national network. The
National Broadcasting Councils for Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland
give advice on the policy and content of television and radio programmes
intended mainly for reception in their areas. Local radio councils
representatives of the local community advise on the development and operation
of the BBC’s local radio stations.
The domestic services of the
BBC are financed principally from the sale of television licences. Households
with television must buy an annual licence costing ₤80 for colour and ₤26.50
for black and white. More than two-thirds of expenditure on domestic services
relates of television.
Licence income is supplemented by profits from trading
activities, such as television programme exports, sale of recordings and
publications connected with BBCprogrammes, hire and sale of educational films, film library sales, and
exhibitions based on programmes. The BBC meets the cost of its local radio
stations. BBC World Service radio is financed by grand-in-aid from the Foreign
& Commonwealth Office, while BBC World Service television is self-funding.
In 1991 the BBC took over from the Home Office
responsibility for administering the television licensing system. Since 1988
annual rises in the licence see have been linked to the rate of inflation; this
is intended further to improve the BBC’s efficiency and encourage it to
continue to develop alternative sources of revenue.
BBC National Radio
The BBC has five
national radio channels for listeners in the United Kingdom. Radio (channel) 1
provides mainly a programme of rock and pop music. Radio 2 broadcasts lights
music and entertainment, comedy as well as being the principal channel for the
coverage of sport. Radio 3 provides mainly classical music as well as drama,
poetry and short stories, documentaries, talks on ancient and modern plays and
some education programmes. Radio 4 is the main speech network providing the
principals news and current affairs service, as well as drama, comedy,
documentaries and panel games. It also carries parliamentary and major public
events. BBC 5 (on medium wave only), which is devoted chiefly to sport,
education and programmes for young people. The BBC has over 30 local radio
stations and about 50 commercial independent stations distributed throughout Britain. To
provide high-quality and wide-ranging programmes that inform, educate and
entertain, to provide also greater choice and competition the government
encourages the growth of additional radio services run on commercial lines.
Besides these domestic
programmes, the BBC broadcasts in England and in over 40 other
languages to every part of the world. It is the World Service of the BBC. Its
broadcasts are intended to provide a link of culture, information and
entertainment between the peoples of the United Kingdom and those in other
parts of the world. The main part of the World Service programme is formed by
news bulletins, current affairs, political commentaries, as well as sports,
music, drama, etc. In general, the BBC World Service reflects British opinion
and the British way of life. The BBC news bulletins and other programmes are
re-broadcasted by the radio services of many countries.
BBC World Service Radio
The BBC World Service
broadcasts by radio worldwide, using English and 37 other languages, for 820
hours a week. The main objectives are to give unbiased news, reflect British
opinion and project British life, culture and developments in science and
industry. News bulletins, current affairs programmes, political commentaries
and topical magazine programmes form the main part of the output. These are
supplemented by a sports service, music, drama and general entertainment.
Regular listeners are estimated to number 120 million.
The languages in which the World Service broadcasts and
the length of time each is on the air are prescribed by the Government.
Otherwise the BBC has full responsibility and is completely independent in
determining the content of news and other programmes.
There are broadcasts by radio for 24 hours a day in
English, supplemented at peak listening times by programmes of special interest
to Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Falkland Islands.
BBC World Service news bulletins and other programmes are
re-broadcast by some 45450 radio and cable stations in over 80 countries, which
receive the programmes by satellite. Two World Service departments also
specialise in supplying radio material for re-broadcast. BBC transcription
sells recordings to more than 100 countries, while BBC Topical Tapes airmails
some 250 tapes of original programmes to subscribers in over 50 countries each
BBC English is the most extensive language-teaching
venture in the world. English lessons are broadcasted daily by radio with
explanations in some 30 languages, including English, and re-broadcast by many
radio stations. BBC English television programmes are also shown in more than
90 countries. A range of printed, audio and video material accompanies these
Another part of the World
Service, BBC Monitoring, listens to and reports on foreign broadcasts,
providing a daily flow of significant news and comment from overseas to the BBC
and the Government. This information is also sold to the press, private sector
companies, academic staff and public bodies.