The US state department has agreed to donate a low six-figure sum to the BBC World Service to help tackle TV and internet censorship in countries like Iran and China.
The deal, which is first of its kind, will see the US government funding the BBC World Service's efforts to develop software and services that can be used to circumvent the censorship deployed by governments to prevent their citizens from accessing certain information.
The donation will be a welcome boost to the BBC in its efforts as its World Service division is facing a 16 per cent cut in its annual grant by the Foreign Office.
The deal, which is expected to the announced at the International Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, will also involve the BBC World Service educating people about freedom of information and tutoring on ways to tackle censorship measures imposed by their countries.
Jim Egan, the controller of strategy and business at BBC World Service, said that the organisation had seen a lot of disruptions, mostly politically motivated, in its services across the globe in including countries in the Middle East and Africa.
“China has become quite an expert at blocking websites and one could say it has become something of an export industry for them – a lot of countries are keen to follow suit. We have evidence of Libya and Egypt blocking the internet and satellite signals in recent weeks,” Egan said.