BBC Trust on the Speech Radio Review

Ritchie Cogan
Ritchie Cogan 12th February 2015

Risk education sessions have been held in Rafah. teaching children how to protect themselves in the event of bombing or armed violence. © S. Hejji - HQ / HI

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Executive Summary

1. IBT believes that, overall, the BBC’s speech radio services are of high quality and serve a range of audiences well. Their coverage of international stories and issues is generally of a high standard, both in their news output and throughout their schedules. This coverage plays an important role in delivering the purpose of ‘bringing the world to the UK.’

2. Radio 4 has, in recent years, successfully become more internationalist in tone and content. This can be seen particularly in its non-news content. Coverage of the wider world, outside news, plays an important role in providing audiences with a more rounded picture of life in other countries. We commend the efforts that Radio 4 has made in this area in recent years.

3. Radio 5 live covers international breaking news stories with verve and confidence and makes a notable effort to include international experts and news makers.

4. However, we believe that news coverage on the BBC’s speech radio services is too dominated by the big story of the day; space needs to be found for a wider range of stories which better reflect the wider world.

5. We note that there has been a significant change in the tone and content of foreign news coverage as a result of the merger between BBC News and the World Service. We welcome this and we don’t underestimate how difficult it has been to achieve. We congratulate those who have worked hard to achieve this transition.

6. However, whilst there have been efforts made by BBC Radio News to improve the diversity amongst reporters and presenters, we believe that there is still some way to go in addressing this issue in terms of contributors. We would like to see more experts from ethnic minority backgrounds featured across BBC Radio News.

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