UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has given the BBC World Service an £8 million funding boost to “tackle harmful disinformation.” What that means is unclear, but the BBC has a history of waging infowars for the UK government.

Broadcast in more than 40 languages to 350 million listeners per week, the BBC World Service brings news and debate from London to the furthest reaches of the globe. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the British taxpayer, and some limited advertising, the service gives the British government worldwide messaging power via a news organization Raab described on Saturday as “unbiased and impartial.”

Behind the veneer of impartiality, the World Service is viewed by the British government as a tool. This year’s ‘Integrated Review’, a document that lays out London’s foreign policy and defense priorities, identified the World Service as an instrument of “soft power” for Britain – one of a range of tools to be used against “systemic competitors like Russia and China.”

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Based on that report, Raab announced on Saturday that the World Service would receive £8 million in extra funding to “tackle harmful disinformation, challenge inaccurate reporting around the world and improve digital engagement.” The fresh funding comes on top of the £378 million the service has received from the FCDO since 2016.

Raab accused “some states” of producing “harmful content” and “fake news around the coronavirus pandemic,” including content “encouraging scepticism around vaccines.” Promoting vaccines has been a key goal of the British government for several months now, to the point where military intelligence units and Government Communications Headquarters spies have reportedly been deployed to wage “information warfare” against anti-vaxx internet posts.

The messaging war around the coronavirus is the only clear example cited by Raab, and his announcement speaks of a broader war against “global disinformation,” “inaccurate reporting,” and “states and criminal gangs” who “twist the news to exploit others.” These terms are not backed up with examples, and are contentious in their own right. “Fake news,” for instance, was a term made famous during Donald Trump’s presidency, and was used by both Trump and the press to describe each other’s messaging. (RT)