Foreign broadcasting: Britain’s global voice

Sarah Sands on the value of the BBC World Service as it aims for a billion listeners

The World Today Published 1 December 2020 Updated 4 December 2020 3 minute READ

Sarah Sands

Chair, Gender Equality Advisory Council

The Today programme, which I edited until September, was located in an oasis of civilization on the third floor of New Broadcasting House. We shared the space with the other Radio 4 news programmes and a saintly team from the World Service, turfed out of their former splendour at Bush House and distributed between NBH and White City.

As we on Radio 4 battled our way through Brexit and Westminster punch-ups, the conversations would drift across the room. Whither South America? What is the latest from the UN? In other words, what is happening in the rest of the world while we are caught in the vortex of two domestic stories.

There is a seriousness of purpose about the World Service and an understanding of life or death conflicts. Sometimes, I felt our domestic concerns were frivolous by comparison.

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