protests over the proposed closure of the BBC's Thai language section sign now

Dear Mr. Foreign Secretary,





Urgent Request to Keep the BBC Thai Service On Air





It is with considerable anger that we have learned of the proposed closure of the BBC World Service's Thai Language Section as part of the latest round of 'public service' cost-cutting. Such a move would be extremely disturbing for the people of Thailand, but also for all who strive to maintain and develop strong relations between our two countries.





In geopolitical terms, the proposal seems to be shockingly ill-judged. At a time when we share with Thailand the burgeoning threats of terrorism, of pandemics, and of natural disasters, such as the terrible 2004 tsunami, it is cavalier and undiplomatic in the extreme to remove from the people of Thailand the most highly regarded source of balanced reportage in the world. And we should not need to have to remind you that it would be equally disastrous for the UK, when the British Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok has grown to be second only to that of the US and the countries of the Pacific Rim are rising in economic and political influence, Thailand among them. Likewise, the importance of Thai students attending British universities can not be overestimated and Thailand is now a major tourist destination for UK citizens.





Furthermore, the small Thai section at the BBC is highly cost effective, and we question the basis on which this decision is being taken. Nation shall speak peace unto nation: no longer, it appears, even when the costs are small and the consequences deeply regrettable.





We are therefore requesting an urgent re-appraisal of so insulting a proposal on behalf of the 60 million people of Thailand and of those in the UK who work to sustain a warm friendship between our two great monarchies. The World Service must remain a truly world service.





Yours faithfully,











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Robbie OdonnellBy:
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