I was talking to a Polish-born coworker the other day (he immigrated during his university years and became a US citizen) about good news sites, other than the Polish ones he reads, and he recommended the BBC. I agree; it's a great site with informative, multimedia features and has a good learning English section. I noticed that they offer news in several languages, but Japanese isn't there! I'm surprised...they have other Asian languages, including the ones that aren't widely spoken. Why there's no Japanese, I don't know.
Since Japanese wasn't there, I decided to check out the Portuguese section, which of course is easier to read than Japanese, even though I don't know all the words.
Another incredible feature at the site is learning languages! They have several, including Japanese, though I'm seriously interested in improving my German. At one point, my German ability wasn't bad, and now it's awful. I even took a trip there, and was eventually able to function in German, but now, I don't think I'd be able to manage it :(
I'm assuming the BBC is publicly funded...way to go and thank you very much for providing such a great service!
Broadly speaking, the BBC is publicly funded yes - though the funding's in a bit of flux.
The domestic TV channels (and before TV arrived, the radio stations) are funded by the license fee - a charge (or poll tax to its detractors) levied on anyone owning a TV by the TV licensing authority, backed by law. This is meant to make the BBC more independent than direct government funding, though is still public funding (backed by the state) as you supposed.
The British Foreign Office used to fund the World Service (so in practice had some influence over the languages broadcast in etc), but that's changing soon, so it will instead be funded by the license fee.
Last time I looked, the BBC websites are funded by the license fee for UK IP addresses, and by advertising for viewers from the rest of the world - I think that's still the case. Channels like BBC World and BBC America (and the BBC's magazines) are commercial too.
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