Help Save the BBC Macedonian Service

The British Broadcasting Service (BBC) announced last week that they would cut five language services in order to cut costs.  The five language programs are Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian, the English service for the Caribbean region and Portuguese for Africa. 

UMD urges you to help us save the BBC Macedonian Service. 

Macedonians worldwide and friends of Macedonia, headed by Macedonia’s first president Kiro Gligorov, advocated in 1995 for BBC to begin a Macedonian Service and on January 8, 1996, BBC started the first ever Macedonian Service.  Since then, BBC Macedonian Service has reached millions of Macedonians worldwide and friends of Macedonia bringing us the news of the day in the Macedonian language not only in Macedonia, but to the world through the internet.  The BBC Macedonian Service’s budget is only a little over 400,000 pounds, and does not represent much in the 54 million pounds BBC hopes to save through these cuts.

While UMD understands that the cutting of the BBC Macedonian Service is due to budget reasons, for us it will be the end of the existence of a small but extremely dynamic and editorial staff. 

 “During our 15 years of existence, with various programmes from music to news and current affairs, we worked tirelessly to give our audiences the best journalism the BBC could provide.  And to do that in one of the world’s most beautiful languages, Macedonian, the basis for the Cyrillic alphabet and the Slavic languages around the world,” said Zaneta Skerlev, head of the BBC Macedonian Service today for UMD. 

Other quotes from fellow Macedonians about the BBC Macedonian Service:

“In the last 15 years, radio programmes in the Macedonian language, broadcast from London, had a very important role in objective and regular reporting about events, features, stories and people from Europe and all over the world.  It had been very important for the citizens of Macedonia: first because they were getting all-important information about everyday events in their native language, and second: because it was an opportunity for Macedonian to be heard in programmes broadcast from abroad.” 

“I can honestly hope that the authorities in the World Service, who broadcast programmes for 240 million people in the world, and have exceptional respect and trustworthiness, will reconsider once again the decision and will enable further functioning of the Macedonian section.”

– Kiro Gligorov, first President of Macedonia

“The broadcasts of the BBC WS in Macedonian language represented a real added value to the development of the Macedonian media space.  I reckon that the Service left a good mark and I have no doubt it will be remembered by the good work it has done.  I am also convinced that the BBC itself acknowledges the strong contribution that has been made by the Macedonian Service to the overall performance of the company.  BBC Macedonian is going to remain a positive sentiment for us – a sentiment of a small and proud People which is a part of the European culture.”

– Antonio Milososki, current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia

“I received the news with great sadness.  On the one hand it is clear to me why this is being done – these last few years we have been aware of the restructuring process within the BBC and the serious budget cuts.  I am aware of the crisis that the British economy is facing.  However, personally, I feel sorrow that such outstanding journalistic craftsmen are now going to be leaving the BBC.  In a more general sense – we are losing a very important cultural, political and informational link between the two states, languages and cultures.”

– Goran Stefanovski, Macedonian writer based in the UK and Lecturer in Drama at Canterbury University

What can you do?

1. Add your signature to the petition by clicking here: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savews

In the note section write “Please don’t cut the BBC Macedonian Service”

The petition will be forwarded to those responsible for this decision:

– Mark Thompson – Director General, BBC
– Jeremy Hunt – UK Secretary of State for Media & Culture
– William Hague – UK Foreign Secretary

2. If you live in the UK, write to your MP – it’s easy, do it here now:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

3. Contact the UK Foreign Secretary here:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/william_hague/richmond_(yorks)

4. Contact the BBC DG here: [email protected]

In the subject, put “Please don’t cut the BBC Macedonian Service”  Please feel free to use text above for verbiage to put in your letter.

5. Like the Save BBC World Service on Facebook – click here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-BBC-World-Service/159789774072830

6. Please pass this to all your contacts, so we can get a wider response in support of the BBC Macedonian Service.

Thank you so much for helping to save the BBC Macedonian Service!