Dyke predicts new era for BBC's global news services

Dyke shows yellow card, designed to ‘cut the crap and make it happen’

Greg Dyke has paid tribute to the work of the BBC World Service and the role it played in reporting events following 11 September, saying "never again" would it be perceived as the "poor relation".

Referring to perceptions inside the corporation that the 70-year-old World Service had been undervalued in the past, Dyke said that the World Service had "come into its own".

"How many of us were aware that the BBC’s Pahsto service was the most important broadcaster in a Taliban-run Afghanistan? But everyone knows now and in Afghanistan everyone knew, which is why the World Service was the only broadcaster allowed into the swearing-in ceremony of the new Government."

In a speech to mark his second year as director general, Dyke also indicated his support for BBC World, the commercially run television news channel which will be brought under the head of the World Service, Mark Byford, in a global news department later this year.

US audiences were turning to BBC World because they preferred its coverage "to the rather jingoistic coverage of the US networks", said Dyke, who claimed that as a public service broadcaster the BBC would have an increasingly international role to play in the digital age.

"Post 11 September, the role of the BBC around the world becomes not less, but more, important," he said.

Dyke claimed the corporation would be "part of the glue which binds the UK together" in a "fragmenting media world".

"Remember, 35 million people in the UK turned to the BBC’s radio and television news service on 11 Sept-ember," said Dyke, who was defending the BBC’s status as a publicly funded broadcaster.

The impact of the "collapse" in the advertising market on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, and on the online industry was, he said, an "oppor-

tunity" for the BBC but also brought a "greater responsibility to deliver".

Adding that the BBC’s regional TV news was beating ITV "virtually everywhere", Dyke claimed the BBC also had an important part to play in the community.

The director general, who is very supportive of the BBC’s local services and made a point of visiting many of them in his first year, said the speech-based radio stations had shown their value during the foot and mouth crisis last year, as well as the fuel crisis and floods of 2000.

Introducing his headline-grabbing "cut the crap, make it happen" yellow cards, Dyke said the BBC needed to recreate itself as a "can do" organisation which is "risk-taking, innovative and creative".

Sweeping aside predecessor John Birt’s aim of making the BBC the "best-managed organisation in the public sector", Dyke said "that wouldn’t have got me out of bed in the morning".

"So let’s forget that and let me offer you a new vision. We want the BBC to be the most creative organisation in the world," he said.

Roger Mosey, head of television news, was one of seven BBC executives selected by Dyke to head teams that will spearhead his "Make it Happen" campaign.

By Julie Tomlin

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