BBC World Service Objectives, Priorities and Targets

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written statement – made am ar 1 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Foreign Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

The BBC Chairman and I have agreed the “Objectives, Priorities and Targets” (OPTs) for the BBC World Service Licence. These have been set until the end of the current Spending Review period in 2025. The Licence can be found on the BBC website.

The BBC World Service is the world's largest international news provider, globally broadcasting news, documentaries and discussions in 42 languages. It remains the world’s most trusted broadcaster and is instrumental in helping to promote the UK and its values across the globe through high quality, accurate and impartial reporting.

At a time when global media freedoms are under threat from malign state actors, this role cannot be underestimated. As such, I was pleased the Government was able to announce in March 2023 an uplift of £20m to the World Service over the next two years, protecting all 42 language services, in recognition of its crucial role in supporting UK soft power, projecting UK culture and values overseas, and in countering harmful disinformation.

The objectives for the World Service contribute to the fulfilment of the Mission and the promotion of the BBC’s Public Purposes, including providing high-quality news coverage; current affairs; and factual programming to international audiences, which is firmly based on British values of accuracy, impartiality, and fairness. The objectives focus on four key areas:

  • maximising the editorial impact and influence of the World Service for UK and global audiences, including through building valued reach;
  • protecting the World Service’s position as the most trusted provider of accurate and independent international news and current affairs;
  • reflecting the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world through providing accurate, impartial and independent news that allows audiences to engage in democratic processes as informed citizens and better resist disinformation,
  • demonstrating value for money and transparency, seeking alternative sources of funding where appropriate.

The BBC Chairman and I have also agreed ambitious global audience targets for the World Service of 303m for 2023/24 and 306m for 2024/25.

The BBC will report annually against the Objectives, Priorities and Targets I have agreed with the BBC Board, including an assessment of progress against quantitative targets. I will meet the BBC Chair (or their nominated representatives) annually to discuss the services, review the performance report, and consider any adjustments that need to be made, including targets. If the BBC Chair and I agree, we may also consider adjustments to services outside this timing, in response to significant changes in market conditions or world events.