Secondo le analisi dell'audience sarebbero circa 730 mila gli ascoltatori della BBC in russo. Erano 1,1 milioni pochi anni fa, ma da allora molti sono passati all'ascolto dei ripetitori FM di Mosca e San Pietroburgo. Oggi spenti per le cattive relazioni che risalgono ai difficile mesi dell'affaire dell'e spione Litvinenko. Oggi chi vuole ascoltare la BBC via radio deve commutare sulle onde corte. I visitatori del sito Web hanno superato quota un milione, in calo dopo la crisi in Georgia, forse le onde della radio possono servire più efficacemente le zone più remote di quella immensa nazione. Cinque milioni di sterline non sono pochi, ma io continuo a pensare che la diplomazia delle armi costi ancora di più e forse anche la diplomazia degli alti livelli, dove non c'è nessuno da convincere, serve a poco.
November 7, 2008
Academics attack BBC over proposed cuts to World Service in Russia
Dan Sabbagh, Media Editor
Doris Lessing, the Nobel prize-winning author, and the playwrights Tom Stoppard and Michael Frayn have written to The Times to protest against cutbacks in Russian radio broadcasts proposed by the BBC.
They join a group of academics and former diplomats who are unhappy that the World Service plans cuts at a time when in Russia “misunderstanding and mistrust of Britain has reached a height unprecedented since the end of the USSR”.
The letter writers complain that the BBC wants to drop 19 hours a week of radio coverage and switch resources to the BBC Russian language website. The critics say that this makes the service too easy to block.
Robert Chandler, a translator of Russian literature, organised the campaign by word of mouth and by e-mail. He said: “It seems there are a lot of people unhappy with the foreign language services, or at least the Russian service on the BBC.”
* World Service cuts
* London Calling
Further signatories include Andrew Wood, who was the British Ambassador to Moscow from 1995 to 2000, and David Manning, former Ambassador to the United States, Orlando Figes, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, London, and Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad.
The BBC said its plans had been misunderstood. Nigel Chapman, the head of the World Service, said: “We are not cutting the budget for the Russian Service now, or in the next two and a half years as part of these changes”.
The Russian Service spends about £5million a year, and is the second-largest part of the World Service, after its expanding Arabic arm. Over the past five years, the BBC has been closing services in Eastern Europe gradually in favour of the Middle East. The World Service's Russian radio service attracts 730,000 listeners. The audience has fallen from 1.1million three years ago, partly because it transmits on short wave. Russians listen increasingly to the better quality FM radio but the World Service was bumped off FM transmitters in Moscow and St Petersburg when Anglo-Russian relations were at a low point after the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. It now has no FM output.
The BBC's Russian language website attracts about one million unique vistors a month, a figure that trebled during the Georgia crisis.