By Stephen Lendman
“Let me get this straight. The US is broke, borrowing money from China, and we will be funding the BBC to broadcast in China?”
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On March 20, the London Guardian’s Ben Dowell broke the news, headlining, “BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US State Department,” saying:
Britain’s government funded BBC will “receive a ‘significant” sum of money from the US government to help (circumvent) the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China,” as well as develop early warning software to more easily detect jamming.
According to Jim Egan, BBC’s controller of strategy and business:
Effective software will help “monitor dips in traffic which act as an early warning of jamming, and can be more effective than relying on people contacting us and telling us they cannot access the services.”
Proxy servers will also be used to misdirect web site blockers to countries other than where broadcasts emanate.
“China has become quite expert at blocking websites,” said Egan, “and one could say it has become something of an export industry for them – a lot of countries are keen to follow suit. We have (also seen) evidence of Libya and Egypt blocking the internet and satellite signals in recent weeks.”
Moreover, Egan said, anti-censorship software will likely need regular updating to counter new technologies developed to subvert it. Another BBC source called it “a bit of a game of cat and mouse,” but didn’t explain why foreign blocking occurs; namely, to prevent anti-government propaganda from being aired, a reason any nation might act defensively.
Funding also buys influence, assuring US propaganda an influential global outlet, complementing its Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Marti (Radio y Television Marti), as well as America’s mainstream media and other Western conduits, delivering managed, not real, news and information.
According to Institute of Economic Affairs director Mark Littlewood:
“The minute you actually start taking the money, there is bound to be a certain element of ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune.’ It is a strange arrangement, and I would worry that the more complicated we make (BBC), the less pure its message can be,” already tainted by British funding and control. More on that below.
EU Parliamentary member Gerard Batten calls BBC “institutionally politically biased, certainly in favour of things like the European Union, mass immigration, and a whole other host of ‘politically correct’ ideas that I think it peddles to the public.”
Accepting government funding from any source exposes BBC hypocrisy. In fact, “(t)he EU bans sponsorship of any news and current affairs TV programs across the EU,” said Batten. “Now it would appear then, that if the US State Department is going to fund BBC that would appear to be in breach of the directive.”
For BBC, an expected low six-figure sum (a starter amount perhaps to be generously increased with little fanfare), will be channelled through the World Service Trust (its charitable arm) to help reach people in targeted countries. The grant will help offset a 16% annual Foreign Office cut over three years affecting 650 jobs and regional operations.
On May 3, International Press Freedom Day, the formal announcement is expected, following “an increase in incidents of interference with World Service output across the globe,” affecting BBC Persian television and its Arabic TV.
On March 22, Dowell headlined, “American anger at BBC World Service Trust’s bid for US funding,” saying:
Furious US responses followed the announcement. Even Voice of America officials were “deeply angry” at a time “Congress is embroiled in a delicate budgetary standoff with the Obama administration….One Washington source said the Broadcasting Board of Governors, (BBG)” in charge of distributing about $760 million annually to five US international broadcasters, “should receive the funding and not the BBC World Service Trust.”
Of course, bankrolling propaganda through any source is reprehensible, especially when commercial outlets do it free, paid for by sponsors.
BBC’s Long History as a Reliable Imperial Tool
Since founded in 1922, BBC has been as corrupted as its dominant counterparts. Moreover, it’s been around longer than all of them, and it now operates for profit besides with UK government funding under its editorial control, firing anyone too critical of state policy.
Today, nothing’s fundamentally changed since founder Lord Reith wrote the establishment saying, “They know they can trust us not to be really impartial.” Neither he or his successors disappointed with rare exceptions, followed by staff changes to assure adherence to state policies, operating as a propaganda system for elitist interests.
Claiming “honesty (and) integrity (is) what the BBC stands for….free from political and commercial pressure” is untrue about an organization that from inception betrayed the public trust. Reith, in fact, operated as a strikebreaker, secretly wrote anti-union speeches for Torries, and refused air time to worker representatives.
Throughout its history, job applicants have been vetted to assure pro-government, pro-business credentials. No aberrant candidates are wanted. Whether on war and peace, Israel – Palestine, international intervention, targeted world leaders, or other domestic and foreign issues, neutral, fair and balanced reporting isn’t tolerated. For nearly nine decades, serving wealth and power alone matters most, now with State Department funds for America like Britain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.