03 March 2022

Culture Secretary pays emotional tribute to journalists in Ukraine

03 March 2022

Nadine Dorries fought back tears as she thanked journalists in Ukraine who are risking their lives to cover the invasion by Russia.

The Culture Secretary had to pause to compose herself as she paid tribute in the House of Commons.

She told MPs the audience for the BBC’s Russian language news website has “gone up from 3.1 million to 10.7 million in the last week”, adding: “Despite his best efforts to censor reporting in Russia, (President Vladimir) Putin’s own citizens are turning to factual, independent information in their millions.

“At this point I’d just like to offer my heartfelt thanks and admiration to all of those journalists working for the BBC, the ITV and other news outlets who are risking their lives to bring us unbiased and accurate news from a live warzone.”

Labour former minister Chris Bryant offered words of encouragement to Ms Dorries on the “tears she was pouring out over the journalists, Clive Myrie and people like that, who are doing an absolutely fabulous job”.

Ms Dorries replied: “I think I just held the tears back, I’m a blubberer, as he knows.”

Elsewhere, Ms Dorries praised the BBC as a “great British global brand” which needs protecting.

Her comments came as Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine highlighted the importance of the BBC World Service after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and sought assurances over its funding.

Ms Dorries replied: “As someone who ran a school in Africa for years, and listened and waited every day for the World Service to hear those words, announcing that the World Service… first of all, it is funded through the Foreign Office, not through my department, and we have always, I have always said that the BBC is a great British global brand, and it needs protecting.

“I’ve always said it was a polar bear on a shrinking ice cap. And we need to review the funding model in order to protect the BBC, and what is best at the BBC, which includes the World Service.”

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