BBC’s World Have Your Say criticised

The BBC’s World Have Your Say (WHYS) programme has been criticised by a blogger, Tim Worstall. Mr Worstall’s post, a complaint that yesterday’s WHYS, about Robert Mugabe, was “[completely ignorant] of economics and business”, and that this was being funded by the British taxpayer.

Indeed, the World Service is funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, WHYS’s editor, Mark Sandell, has vigourously defended, and well, his programme.

WHYS is, indeed, about global conversations, possibly conversations someone sitting in the UK doesn’t want to hear. But just because his money helps fund the World Service (which reaches 183 million people in over thirty languages) doesn’t give him the right to deny what a great majority of that 183 million people want to listen to.

I did make a comment at Mark’s defence of the programme without realising that Mr Worstall had already responded, saying he might have been “a touch harsh”. I think, however, that my point still stands. I doubt Mr Worstall listens to WHYS. I think his view is narrow-minded – while I’m no fan of Mugabe (and, as Mark points out, many Europeans and Americans similarly rejected his ideas on last night’s show), it IS a talking point. And I think the number of respondents to the show – not just those in Africa supporting Mugabe but also the abovementioned Europeans and Americans who did not agree – proves that.

It’s a good thing Mr Worstall isn’t the World Service’s director.

Edit: In my original comment/response to Mark’s post, I said Mr Worstall’s comments “[don’t] deserve any more than a minute of consideration”. I’d like to make clear that I recognise it helps to have dissenting voices, and, not having seen his response to Mark at that time, was perhaps too quick to judge.


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