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23rd November 2008

Dear All
Received from Robert Chandler
Ute

Dear all, My understanding – in answer to one question from a member – is
that theoverall budget of the Russian service remains much the same. The
issue isthat money is being directed away from radio, and above all away
fromserious analytic programmes. Instead the Russian service is directing
itsresources towards its (easily blockable) website. Here is my address,
though email is a reliable way to reach me.Robert Chandler, 42 Milson
Road, London, W14 OLD Several letters to the Times have now been
published. Here are
links:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5100492.ecehttp://tinyurl.com/6p3rj3http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5167422.ecehttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5157703.ece
On Tuesday 11 Nov the MP Greg Hands asked a question about the
RussianService in Parliament. This can be found
onhttp://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=2694&amp;rel=ok<http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=2694&amp;rel=ok>
Caroline Flint replies that her Œunderstanding it that they are
justbringing it [i.e. the service] closer to new media popular with
youngerpeople.¹ She does, however, say that she will investigate. The
letters published in the Times, together with Professor Rayfield¹s replyto
Nigel Chapman and a number of other comments, can be found on thewebsites
of both Index on Censorship and Open Democracy:http://tinyurl.com/6pcme4
(for OPEN DEMOCRACY)http://tinyurl.com/5w93y9 for OPEN DEMOCRACY, part
2)http://tinyurl.com/5cuusa (for INDEX ON CENSORSHIP) There is a
particularly moving comment on the Open Democracy site:ŒWhat is happening
to the BBC Russia service echoes what is happening – oralready happened –
throughout the World Service. Reading your letter fillsme with regret that
we were not able to produce a letter of similar weight,with similarly
weighty signatories, to try and defend the BBC Africanservices, the BBC
Greek service (no longer in existence) and many others.Nigel Chapman is,
yes, out of kilter, as most of BBC management have beenfor at least the
last decade. It is deeply depressing to see what hashappened to the World
Service, which so many listeners around the globe haveappreciated for so
many years. You should hear the comments I have beentold, face to face,
from listeners throughout the African continent. Theycannot understand why
the BBC has allowed the African services to fall tosuch miserable
standards. And yet, and yet… management insists it has allgot so much
better. I wish you all great luck and strength in defending theRussian
service. You are all quite right to write. Well done. Bravo.¹ Best Wishes,
Robert Chandler

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