After 82 years of activity
The BBC World Service has announced that after 82 years of activity, the broadcasting of Persian radio programs on this network has ended. BBC Farsi radio was one of the most popular radios with 82 years of history, launched after World War II. The Persian programs of BBC radio in Afghanistan, especially in the villages of Afghanistan, had an exceptional reputation and many fans.
Based on the narratives of residents in Afghanistan, especially adults and the elderly, BBC Persian radio was a reliable source of information on events in the country and the world for them. But the BBC World Service called the purpose of stopping the Persian radioactivity of this network focusing more on digital platforms.
A nostalgia and a last memory
BBC is one of the world’s most popular media that provides programs in different languages, including English, Russian, Chinese, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Turkish, Hindi, and Uzbek. Therefore, sometimes the media services of the BBC, especially the Farsi sections and BBC Farsi radio, have been severely criticized by the people of Afghanistan and Iran. Due to this, the people of these two countries claim that some of the positions and reports of BBC Farsi were biased and partisan. But this radio’s last Farsi morning program was broadcast on Sunday morning, March 26, 2023. It was a nostalgia and a final memory for the fans and listeners of BBC Persian radio in Afghanistan, which will not be erased from their diary.
Anyway, with the closing of BBC Persian Radio after 82 years of activity, the book Geopolitics of Information by Dr. Anthony Smith, although authored by and possessing old sources. But with these detailed and documented sources, the colonial policy of imperialism can be studied and analyzed.
A look at media imperialism system
What is mentioned in this book regarding capitalism and the use of information, especially the media, by the superpower and colonialist countries to secure their interests is worthy of further investigation and study. Although this book is an ancient source, it is well-documented, accurate, and interesting. For example, the colonialists spent vast sums of money on their media propaganda in 1972, as follows:
United Kingdom: 1734 million dollars
United States: 23130 million dollars
France: $1,660 million
Media propaganda percentage of the countries
In total, 61% of the world advertising market belongs to North America, 25% and only 13% belong to other countries of Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East; many news agencies worldwide have a global scale of activities. As a competitor against the world’s five news giants, none of them can compete with these five news agencies. Such as (Havas France, Reuters England, Wolff Germany, United Press, and Associated Press). 34% of the world’s prominent news reporters are based in America, 28% in Europe, 17% in Asia and Australia, 11% in Latin America, 6% in the Middle East, and 4% in Africa (Smith).
TASS news agency
As a part of a more detailed and professional investigation, it shows how the colonial countries involved the agents of information and news organizations in the selection of reliable people. Associated Press is a cooperative and non-profit organization, but its members are solely at the service of the American press. 80% of this news agency’s income is provided through radio, television, and domestic press (Smith).
Today, the director general of the TASS news agency is appointed by the Supreme Council of the Central Committee, and the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs must approve all TASS contracts and international agreements. TASS operates based on subscription fees from 3,000 newspapers in the Soviet Union and thousands of non-press clients (Smith).
On the other hand, when we examine the vast geography of these news and information organizations. At the same time, common sense proves how these offices, recruitments, and geographical range of activities have expanded. It is only possible with the cooperation and leadership of a specific system and government worldwide. This detailed statistic shows how these countries invested in these organizations.
Statistics related to active international news agencies
1- The Associated Press of America is active in 108 countries and has 5720 advertising subscribers, which include (newspapers, radio and television stations, and private companies). This news agency has 62 overseas offices, the number of words transmitted per day is 17 million, and the number of its correspondents in foreign countries is 559.
2- United Press of America is active in 92 countries of the world. It has 9361 advertising subscribers, including newspapers, radio and television stations, and private companies. This news agency has 81 overseas offices, the number of words transmitted per day is 11 million, and the number of its reporters in foreign countries is 578.
3- Agence France-Presse of France is active in 152 countries; it has 12,069 advertising subscribers, including newspapers and national news agencies. It has 108 overseas offices, and the number of words transmitted is 503350000 news photos daily. And the number of journalists of this news agency in foreign countries is 181 full-time journalists and 1200 freelance journalists.
4- Reuters of UK has operations in 147 countries. It has 6,900 advertising subscribers, which include newspapers, radio and television stations, and private subscribers. This news agency has 153 foreign offices. The number of words transmitted per day is 150,000 words. The number of its reporters in foreign countries is 350 full-time and 800 freelance reporters.
5- TASS Soviet news agency is active in 80 countries of the world. It has 13,525 advertising subscribers, which include newspapers, radio and television stations, and private subscribers. This news agency has 110/40 overseas offices, whose transmitted words are 150,000 per day, and the number of its reporters in foreign countries is 61 (Smith and UNESCO Commission on Communication Issues).
Expressing censored news in the direction of the colonies:
Its colonial interests provide the answer to all material and spiritual expenses and investments. For example, the Reuters news agency, which influenced London and Delhi, demanded respectable plans inside India. But on the contrary, in the report of 1954, the Press Commission of India announced that in the 1920s, Reuters and Associated Press of India had prevented the publication of News related to public unrest (Smith).
BBC Radio and its billion expenses
A statistical example of the BBC is also available: “The BBC has two color television channels, four internal radio channels, and 29 radio stations. In this way, the BBC radio network broadcasts programs in 36 languages of the world to explain and promote political and more directional.”
According to an official announcement, the funding of the BBC’s overseas broadcasting is provided by UK government aid. At the same time, the Ministry of Treasury of the UK government has to pay the expenses to the BBC service.
Paying taxes to support the BBC’s objectives
In this case, it is decided in which languages and how many hours of the BBC radio program will be broadcast. According to the official statistics, the British government’s contribution to the foreign sector of the BBC was 54.9 million pounds in 1981 and 62.9 million pounds in 1971. However, in the year of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, only 37.2 million pounds were allocated for this purpose. Even though TV owners in England must legally pay taxes every year by going to the post office and getting a license for their TV receivers, these taxes provide a part of the expenses of the BBC World Service.
References and Endnotes:
- Smith Dr. UNESCO, Rahimi Nemat and Geopolitics of Information