BBC World Service Trust

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The BBC World Service Trust (BBCWST) definies its mission as using "the creative power of media to reduce poverty and promote human rights by inspiring people to build better lives" [1]. It is one of the largest organisations in the world to use media to help development and is funded through external grants and voluntary contributions with a small amount of support coming from the BBC[2].

Founded in October 1999, the Trust is the charitable arm of the BBC and works closely with the BBC World Service. It primarily operates in Africa, South and South East Asia, and Eastern Europe to improve health, development, education and training[3]. The Trust works with the media in Developing Countries all over the world to produce programmes suited to the local audience as well as helping to build media capacity and infrastructure. "During the short period since its foundation, the BBC World Service Trust has made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for some of the world’s poorest communities, often providing information, in local languages, through a trusted and highly respected medium"[4].

The BBC World Service Trust is a registered UK charity, its registration number is 1076235[5].


A report by International Media Support stated that "The British government, through the CPA and now through the UK Embassy, has actively influenced the media policies now being shaped in Iraq. British consultants have been and still are instrumental in trying to forge a BBC-style public service broadcaster out of the IMN. Also, the BBC Word Service Trust is now instrumental in media projects in Iraq"[6].

As part of the Department for International Development's (DFID) Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance to Iraq, 2003, the BBC World Service Trust was awarded contratcs worth over £6.5 million to rebuild the country's media infrastructure. An initial £390,000 was given to produce humanitarian programmes for broadcast on the BBC World Service and to assess the state of the Iraqi media. A further £6,140,098 was awarded to establish a broadcasting centre in Basra, to assist in the production of local news, education and entertainment programmes for broadcast on radio and TV, and the provision of equipment and training.[7]

After the invasion in 2003, the Trust produced Calling Iraq (Lil Rafidayan Salam), "a series of lifeline programmes that provide humanitarian, health and security information along with safety tips"[8] on the BBC World Service Arabic Service.

An audit of Iraqi media conducted by the BBC World Service Trust immediately after the fall of the Sadan Hussein's regime found that most but not all of the media infrastructure in Iraq had been destroyed during the invasion. The process of developing a strategy for the rebuilding of the Iraqi media is just getting under way. One of the audit's key findings stated; "A perceived failure of the CPA has been its inability to communicate to and convince Iraqis of its good intentions and to engage them in a discussion on the future of their country. The broadcast media could play a central role in this"[9]. Before going on to state that "the strategy urgently needs to define the relationship between the CPA and the Iraqi Media Network, the putative national broadcaster, and to outline some kind of initial regulatory framework and media code"[10]. The audit criticises the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) for trying to control the output of the Iraqi Media Network (IMN) by requesting to review programmes before output. The CPA also dissaproved of the IMN broadcasting verses from the Quran over TV and Radio before proposing that the radio station be replaced by Radio Sawa (the Voice of America in Arabic). The workings of the IMN were decribed as follows; "Iraqi Media Network, both TV and radio programmes are prepared and pre-recorded in facilities at the Convention Centre near to the CPA headquarters in the Republican Palace. They are then physically taken for playout to the TV and FM radio transmitter site about 2km away"[11]. The Involvement of SAIC in the IMN was also criticised because, although SAIC were not contracted for broadcasting activities, using an engineering research firm to run a media network proved a hindrance to Iraqi journalists in the country. The audit also found that most Iraqi's were not impressed with the IMN and saw it as nothing more than a "mouthpiece of the CPA""[12].

According to the Trusts assessment of Iraqi media after the fall of Baghdad, top level media professionals in Iraq could not be employed because of their previous connections to the Baath Party and would have to undergo training in 'Journalistic Values' if they were employed for at least 12 months before the invasion[13]. The Trust states that "The problem is that there is no history of independent journalism in Iraq. Ba'athist journalists and those living in exile have worked for partisan organisations, and will have little experience in developing programmes which reflect the broader interests of all sectors of the nation"[14].

In their annual report for 2005, the BBC World Service Trust announced that "The £6.7m project to establish an independent broadcaster in southern Iraq has completed the first phase of training and development. In one of the most ambitious training initiatives ever undertaken by the BBC, more than 90 Iraqi journalists were given a solid grounding in TV, radio and managerial skills during an eight-week programme in Amman, Jordan. The station's technical infrastructure has assembled by Iraqi engineers.[15]. All of the Iraqi management and employees were employed by the ""Southern Iraq Company for TV and Radio Broadcasting", a company wholly owned by the BBC World Service Trust and incorporated under Iraqi law"[16] according to written submissions by the BBC World Service Trust to the UK Parliament Select Committee on Foreign Affairs in December 2004.

The culmination of the BBC World Service Trust's work was the creation of Al Mirbad TV and Radio in the summer of 2005, a local media outlet covering Southern Iraq. All the 150 staff were trained by the BBC World Service Trust and the day to day running of the station is now in the hands of a local management team. A January 2006 survey showed that 42% of respondents tuned in to Al Mirbad radio at least once a week while 13% of viewers watched Al Mirbad TV.[17] The station is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) with additional assisstance provided by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan[18] and Emirates Media Incorporated (EMI).[19].

The Trust ran a series of workshops in October 2005 in conjunction with UNESCO Iraq Office that focused on stimulating debate among the Iraqi media in order to develop a code of ethics for the Iraq Media as well as practical tools that would protect journalists in the country[20].

In October 2007, the Trust announced the launch of a project to promote freedom of expression in Iraq. "The project is further developing the country's media regulatory framework; providing support for media professionals, and undertaking research on the state of the country's media".[21] A profesional code of conduct will be created for journalists while the country's regulatory framework for the media will also be developed. The project is being run in conjunction with Albany Associates and IREX Europe, with funding coming from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)".[22] Several directors of Albany Associates and IREX Europe have been employed by various departments of the UK and US governments, as well as the UN and the BBC World Service.


Stephen King - Director

Awo Ablo - Director of Business Development

Kirsty Cockburn - Direcdtor of Communications

Anna Da Silva - Regional Director, Africa

Simon Derry - Regional Director, Middle East, Europe and Former Soviet Union

Caroline Howie - Regional Director, Asis

Gerry Power - Director, Research and Knowledge Management



Caroline Agnes Morgan Thomson

Christopher Beauman

Nigel Chapman

James Patrick Vaughn CBE

Michael McCulloch

Zeinab Badawi

Michael Williams

Bhupendra Mistry

Susan King


The BBC World Service Trust had an income of £7,031,820 at the end of the March 2003. In 2004, after the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, it reached £10,303,548, which rose to £17,624,452 in 2007[23].

Funding comes from the following donors:

Africa Educational Trust

British Council

Community Fund

Conciliation Resources

Danish International Development Assistance (Danida)

Department For International Development, UK (DfID)

European Commission

European Union

Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)

Ford Foundation

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK (FCO)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH

Grupo Zeta

Health Unlimited

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

International Trachoma Initiative (ITI)

Kaiser Foundation

Karl Mayer Foundation

Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Netherlands (NEDA)

Mott Foundation

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Potanin Charity Foundation

Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC)

Sasakawa Memorial Health Fund

United Nations AIDS

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

United Nations Development Fund For Women (UNIFEM)

United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA)

United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI)

USAID US Agency for International Development

World Bank

World Health Organization (WHO)

Zayed Foundation


  1. BBC World Service Trust About The Trust
  2. BBC World Service Trust [1]
  3. BBC World Service Trust (2003) The Current State of the Broadcast Media in Iraq[2]
  4. BBC World Service Trust (2003) The Current State of the Broadcast Media in Iraq[3]
  5. Charity Commission for England and Wales, 2008 [4]
  6. International Media Support, 2005 Media development in Iraq: An overview of international support 2003-2005 []
  7. DFID Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance to Iraq, 2003 [5]
  8. BBC World Service Trust Annual Report, 2004 [6]
  9. BBC World Service Trust (2003) The Current State of the Broadcast Media in Iraq[7]
  10. BBC World Service Trust (2003) The Current State of the Broadcast Media in Iraq[8]
  11. BBC World Service Trust (2003) The Current State of the Broadcast Media in Iraq[9]
  12. BBC World Service Trust (2003) The Current State of the Broadcast Media in Iraq[10]
  13. UK Parliament Publications and Records []
  14. UK Parliament Publications and Records []
  15. BBC World Service Trust Annual Report, 2005 [11]
  16. UK Parliament Publications and Records []
  17. BBC World Service Trust [12]
  18. BBC World Service Trust [13]
  19. BBC World Service Trust [14]
  20. UNESCO, 2007 [15]
  21. BBC World Service Trust [16]
  22. BBC World Service Trust [17]
  23. BBC World Service Trust Annual Reviews 2003, 2004, 2007 [18]