‘BBC a powerful tool for spreading democracy’ – BHC


29-May-2013

(L-r) Mr Tambara, Ms Skoll and Mr Quatre

Speaking after a visit to the BBC radio relay station at Grand Anse, Ms Skoll said that the BBC World Service radio station has been instrumental in helping to introduce the values of democracy in numerous places and bolstering the democratic beliefs of people in areas where it has been threatened.

“From Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma to Nelson Mandela in South Africa, the BBC World Service has been a beacon of hope and democracy for people struggling against non-democratic regimes. I applaud the work that the organisation has done, whether it is from Bush House in London or here, in Seychelles, to broadcast these values to the world,” said Ms Skoll.

“We know from their testimony that, even for hostages taken by pirates off the Somali coast, the limited access they received to the BBC in captivity was an invaluable life-line to the outside world.”

The British high commissioner was shown around the relay station by station manager Albert Quatre and senior engineer José Tambara.

The BBC relay station opened in 1988 and broadcasts the BBC World Service signal across East Africa. The signal transmitted by the station at Grand Anse can be received all the way from Egypt in the north to Mozambique in the south and across the continent as far as eastern Nigeria.

Guiding the high commissioner, Mr Quatre explained that, although the signal broadcast westwards towards continental Africa is powerful enough to reach across the continent, no signal is broadcast towards the east so there is no risk of an adverse impact on people living near the station.

Broadcasting of the BBC World Service in Seychelles is done by the SBC (Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation) which receives the signal directly from London and is responsible for transmitting it and maintaining the local broadcast infrastructure.

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