The BBC World Service is to receive a “significant” sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China.
In what the BBC said is the first deal of its kind, an agreement is expected to be signed later this month that will see US state department money – understood to be a low six-figure sum – given to the World Service to invest in developing anti-jamming technology and software.
The funding is also expected to be used to educate people in countries with state censorship in how to circumnavigate the blocking of internet and TV services.
It is understood the US government has decided the reach of the World Service is such that it makes investment worthwhile.
The US government money comes as the World Service faces a 16% cut in its annual grant from the Foreign Office – a £46m reduction in its £236.7m budget over three years that will lead to about 650 job cuts. The money will be channelled through the World Service’s charitable arm, the World Service Trust.
The deal, which is expected to be formally announced on International Press Freedom Day, 3 May, follows an increase in incidents of interference with World Service output across the globe, according to its controller of strategy and business, Jim Egan.
BBC Persian television, which launched in early 2009 and airs in Iran and its neighbouring countries, has experienced numerous instances of jamm… >>>