BBC 'plans radio service in N. Korea'

LONDON • The BBC plans to launch a radio news service for broadcast into North Korea as part of an expansion of its World Service offering, according to a source.

The British service broadcaster also wants to offer new and expanded services to Russia, Africa, India and the Middle East, added the source close to the matter yesterday.

It could lead to the BBC launching a daily news programme for North Korea, in a move that risks unsettling diplomatic relations between London and Pyongyang.

The BBC is also said to be looking into creating a satellite TV service for Russian speakers, and is expected to seek extra public funding for the expansion.

"This is about Britain's place in the world," said a source at the BBC, who was speaking ahead of a formal announcement on the broadcaster's plans due tomorrow.

"Other news outlets are growing globally, and many do not share our traditions and values."

The source added: "There should no longer be any no-go countries for the World Service - it is Britain's impartial voice to the world."

The BBC World Service reaches 210 million people a week on television, radio and digital platforms, according to the broadcaster.

Founded in 1932, it broadcasts around the globe in 29 languages, including English.

The BBC was forced to take on the £245 million (S$528 million) annual cost of the World Service, which had been funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, from last year, The Guardian reported.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 06, 2015, with the headline 'BBC 'plans radio service in N. Korea''. Print Edition | Subscribe